2010 Day 1 Eastern Tour Observations from Mark Bernard

August 16, 2010 05:27 PM

Day one of the 2010 Midwest Pro Farmer Crop Tour saw our group heading out of Columbus and taking a southwest bearing on U.S. Route 62, than after 35 – 40 miles heading back to the northwest on Ohio 54 to Urbana. From there we stair-stepped our way to St Mary’s or attempted to. We managed to pull about the same number of samples as the number of detours we ran across, 13. The crew today was largely veteran, composed of Greg Vincent from AgWeb.com with farmer extraordinaire from MN Richard Guse at the helm of the G-3 Hummer. Evan Stanley from Indiana Grain was the newbie and we tried our best to teach him as much as we could about the wide world of Crop Tour.

Counties sampled in Ohio by our route included Pickaway, Fayette, Madison, Clark, Champaign, Logan, Auglaize and Mercer. Yields bounced around but ranged from a low of 124 to a high around 210 bu./acre. Soybean pod counts in the 3 x 3 were also all over the board as well, with low counts in the 560 range to over 1400. Average for our route in Ohio was somewhere in the 1200 neighborhood.

This is my seventh tour of duty on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour and this crop was similar to last year’s crop in terms of yield on our route. Overall crop health is very good with disease pressure in both corn and beans generally very light. While we did note some plants occasionally with SDS in the fields we scouted, we did not see the pressure in these fields seen on our journey through IL and western IN to get to Columbus on Sunday. If SDS is to impact the Ohio crop, it’s going to have to get a move on. See notes about crop maturity a little farther down the page.

On the corn side more of the same; a little common rust on a few plants, some gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight. There was also a relative lack of insect pest pressure. We saw the odd soybean aphid, a few Western corn rootworm beetle adults and a light spider mite infestation on one plant pulled from a drier soybean fields. However, these were more of a novelty this time around and not enough to warrant the use of weapons of mass destruction. One thing that did stick out in some of the soybean fields in particular was the weed pressure that had possibly affected some of the pod counts in the drier areas. Of particular note were things like horseweed (marestail), common ragweed and giant ragweed escapes. A little tough to tell if this was due to glyphosate resistance with the short duration of our visit and not knowing the particulars of each field. However, these weeds have been well documented as resistant in several states so it would come as no surprise.

Something that has definitely changed for the better is the maturity of the crop in Ohio this time around. Last year we were dealing with flat pods in most soybean fields and this year most of them could’ve been consumed as edamame. Seeds filled pod cavities at one of the uppermost 4 nodes on the main stem with a fully expanded trifoliate. Most were a true R6 on our route. The corn crop was equally as noteworthy in that department. Many of the samples pulled today included ears where the milk line was nearly gone. This is a far cry from the milk stage corn we measured in many fields last year. And with both crops, moisture was typically not the limiting factor it was a year ago. In some of the drier areas an inch or so of rain would be nice but the moderating temperatures will go a long way towards helping the crop across the finish line. As always, there are some flies in the proverbial ointment.

As Pioneer Agronomist Mary Gums pointed out, the heat experienced by this crop may have some repercussions. In particular with the corn, the stretch of extremely warm nights can negatively impact kernel fill and yield. Along with that the heavy dews remaining on the plants for extended periods can increase the potential for more leaf disease, especially on those fields that have some time left on a meter that’s still running. Tomorrow we push on through IN and into eastern IL.

Click here for complete 2010 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Coverage.

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