Day 2 Eastern Tour Observations from Mark Bernard

August 18, 2009 07:00 PM

Day 2 of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour found us heading north with a crew of three, Alejandra Sarquis from Molinos in Buenos Aires and Mark Weinraub from Reuters in Chicago. With these two seasoned veterans, it made the day go by quickly as we ran our route. The route took us north of Indianapolis to near Elwood where we started our sampling. We went from there to Wabash then on over to Rochester, Logansport, Remington and finally through Kentland where we crossed over the IN/IL border.

The highlight for the day was probably the detour around the water hazard near Wabash. We'd been noting the standing water in some of the fields and when our route required us to turn and go up State Hwy. 15, there were signs saying Road Closed High Water. Of course we took it anyway and ran across a highway crew cleaning up some of the debris where the waters had receded. The gentleman in charge told us the water up the road was still too high yet and advised us not to go any further. We obliged but did manage to get some info out of him, specifically that it had rained about 10" the day before and that prior to that, it had been extremely dry for quite some time. We turned around and thanks to Mark's navigational prowess, we were back on route in a short while.

Yields were all over the board on corn with our highest yielding sample at 240 bu./acre coming from and our lowest yielding sample coming next door in Fulton Co. at 108 bu./acre. Very few dented ears were seen today in our samples. Much of the crop we saw today will need the month of September to get by unscathed from an early frost. On the soybean side, pod counts were way down from the previous day and it wasn't until we got into IL that we had one over 1000 pods in a 3 x 3 square. This does not bode well for the IN soybean crop and not so surprisingly the numbers for the rest of the Tour reflected that same trend.

When it comes to agronomic issues, there were some of the same issues today and a few new ones. Not that they serious on our route but they were noticed. On the corn we could find eyespot, gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and common rust. There was some potassium deficiency and some N deficiency, possibly due to leaching, denitrification or simply positional unavailability where one could still see the sidedress opener tracks. A few insects issues in the corn where we apparently found the refuge acres in a field as the corn was badly lodged but only in 4 row blocks. Also of note, lots of bird cherry oat aphids and lots of ladybug larvae working them over. Apparently MN does not have the corner on the bird cherry oat aphid market. In the soybeans, a few aphids were found, grasshopper feeding was evident on the borders and of course the ever present Japanese beetles. Cercospora hit one runty looking field fairly hard, septoria was common on lower leaves, and downy mildew was becoming more prevalent as we worked our way towards IL.

All in all, the IN crop still needs H2O and heat to finish and realize the potential crop we measured today. Sure, the area that got 10" should be set but it didn't take long for us to get out of the extremely wet area into areas that still need a drink. And given the GDU's that have been lacking, it'll need to keep it coming.

Tomorrow it's on to finish IL crop estimates. For now it's time for shuteye…zzzzzz…zzzzzzzz…

Click here for complete 2008 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Coverage.

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