Day 3 Eastern Tour Observations from Mark Bernard

August 20, 2009 07:30 AM

Day three of the 2009 Midwest Pro Farmer Crop Tour had our group running west of Bloomington IL on US 136 then north on State Hwy's 97 and 82. We crossed over the Mississippi and pulled a couple samples in Iowa before torrential rains caused us to cease operations and head for the hotel. Was fortunate to have Andy Vance from Buckeye Ag Radio Network and Sara Schafer from Farm Journal Media along today as we made our way through the maze of small towns and fields to be sampled. Have been paired with both before and there are few people on the Tour who work harder while reporting and photographing along with the sampling.

Aside from the rain, the worst feature of today's route was the relative lack of good places to eat. When stopping at a convenience store, seeing what appeared to be a couple day old weenies going round and round in the carousel, I sensed trouble. I asked the cashier if there was any place to eat in town and she said "This is it.” No thanks.

Crops today in IL were about what was expected only with a little more disease pressure.

On the corn side, high and low yields on today's route were both from Knox Co., 196 and 121 bu./acre respectively, with a low harvest population of 17,700 per acre. On the soybean side, the highest pod counts were in Knox Co. at 2185.9 and the lowest were in Logan Co. at 478.8. In the first of several corn fields we checked in IL, along with some nitrogen deficiency, stalk rot was starting to present itself as a potential problem. It should come as no surprise as wet planting conditions increase the odds that it will be an issue. The lower ear counts as a result of gaps in the stands underscore the fact that many of these fields today were likely planted in less than ideal conditions. A few more samples down the road, we saw green snap of around 10% in our samples.

Gray leaf spot was also present in higher amounts and moving up the plant. Given the later maturity of this year's IL crop, the likelihood of an economic return on a fungicide application in some fields may be increased. Still plenty of bird cherry oat aphids in the corn making for sticky, itchy crop scouts when exiting the fields. Not doing much damage, the aphids that is.

In the soybean fields, we saw little disease pressure until one of the last fields we checked where Andy picked up on some SDS. Once we got into IA, the amount of SDS noticed was increasing. While white mold was mentioned on several other routes, we saw none today in our forays into the fields. Insect pressure continues to be light, although Japanese beetles were found on our route doing some cosmetic damage here and there. Same song, different verse today in terms of what needs to happen with the IL crops. Unlike the IN crop however, IL has moisture to burn over most of the area we checked. It needs time and heat to realize the potential measured today.

On through the rest of IA and a chunk of MN to finalize the numbers there. See you in Austin!

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

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