The final leg of the Tour wrapped up today as we journeyed out of IA City and towards our destination of Austin MN. With Pro Farmer senior news editor Roger Bernard at the wheel, Jeff Wilson of Bloomberg in Chicago as associate statistician/weatherman, Jim Tsujimura strategy Coordinator for Toyota Tsusho America from Japan as fellow associate statistician and yours truly in charge of morale, we set off about 7:30 a.m. and headed north.
We were on a rover route and were filling in between other routes in the gaps. We covered an area basically west about 50 miles then essentially straight north to the border. Crop we saw was about what we expected, variable and affected by the rain. Corn yields ranged from about 117 bu./acre to around 180 bu./acre. Most of the corn was milk to dough but some ears we pulled today were recently pollinated. Soil conditions were dry as well. Hate to keep beating a dead horse here but like most of the corn crop we looked at on this tour, this crop needs to get a better than average frost date and just enough rain to finish it out.
Ditto on the soybeans. The pod counts were lower than normal and in too many of the stops, the pods were still relatively flat. A small amount of SDS was found in scattered fields but given the late date of infection and the dry soil conditions, chances are the impact will be minimal. A couple fields of threshold level soybean aphids were found but in most fields, minimal levels were detected. No white mold on our route today as was found on some routes in IA and particularly in MN.
Once again, this year's Crop Tour was a wonderful experience. The international contingent of scouts was one of the things that made it most enjoyable for all of us. The interest they expressed and the willingness to learn about our cropping systems put this agronomist in his element. There were also folks from non-farm backgrounds such as brokerage and investment firms and their perspective on the crop made for an equally great learning experience on my part. And if you enjoy farming and farmers from all over the US and Canada, there are few opportunities that can match this one. Overall, one won't meet a nicer group of people. For those who haven't taken advantage of the chance to go on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, you won't regret it.
A special thank you to this year's sponsors, Pioneer Hi Bred International and John Deere Crop Insurance. Without their participation, this Tour would not be possible. It's much appreciated.
Click here for complete 2008 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Coverage.