Day 4 Eastern Tour Observations from Mark Bernard

09:44AM Aug 21, 2009
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Final day of the 2009 Midwest Pro Farmer Crop Tour had us heading out after an overnight thundershower to the west of Iowa City. The crew today included Alex Bos, a Canadian now living and working in London for Macquarie Bank LTD, Greg Horstmeier from Columbia MO working for DTN and last but not least, Jeff Wilson from Chicago for Bloomberg News. We had a great day of sampling and the day went by very fast, even though we were dodging raindrops on the tail end of our day. All were very professional and seemed very impressed that the driver could squawk the tires on Carrie the minivan.

We left IA City on State #6 and proceeded to find every fence and cow in IA. Our journey hiked us through the towns of Toledo, Tama, LeGrand, Grundy Center, Parkersburg, Greene, Osage and Stacyville. The corn yield average on our route today was 195 with a high of 247 and a low of 108. The soybeans saw a high pod count of 3600 in the 3 x 3 and a low of 741, with an average of 1169 average. A little more disease pressure in the soybeans today, the SDS was more noticeable on the southern part of the route, particularly in the first 4 samples and lessened as we worked our way north. Some white mold was cropping up here and there but wasn't evident until one actually waded out into the field to check it out.

Once again there was a dearth of easily found places to eat but we finally settled on a place in Parkersburg called Dutch's and were treated to some good old fashioned farmer comfort food, namely meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. Excellent place to stop for lunch. All in all, the crop we saw today was impressive.

Crop health was good, yields were good and while the maturity was behind what I recall from last year, it was still generally farther along than any of the rest of the states we sampled on the Eastern leg of the Crop Tour. Great crop to look at today, a group of guys to sample with and great way to end the final leg of the Tour.

Would like to thank Pioneer for sponsoring this year's Crop Tour and to Pro Farmer for asking me to serve as Tour Consultant again this year. Sure, it's a lot of work but it's also a lot of fun and a wonderful way to see the US corn and soybean crop as well as meeting some great people from all over the world. Would highly recommend it to anyone interested.