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Eastern Tour Day One: Mark Bernard's Ohio Wrap Up

10:57AM Aug 18, 2008

Day one saw us heading out of Columbus to the northwest and sampling nearly straight west of Columbus in Delaware Co. then on to Union, Champaign, Miami and Darke Co.'s. The crew this outing was composed of Pete Meyers with Lehman Bros. from NY, Sara Muri from AgWeb, farmer Don Harris from Losantville IN and your truly.

What did we see for corn and soybean crops? Much the same as expected from the journey into Columbus Sunday afternoon along with a few surprises. Many of the fields we surveyed today were also suffered from excess moisture early on in the season with some reduced stands in areas as well as some N deficiency being common in and around those same areas.

The corn crop is variable as expected only farther behind than it appears from the windshield survey, ranging all the way from blister to dent in the 7 samples we pulled on our route. Reports by other scouts were generally similar and it will take a perfect fall for this crop to reach its potential. With roughly 6 weeks to get the ears that are blistered out of the woods, it'll be a race to the finish.

It's also drier in the fields than it appears from a distance. While the lawns and road ditches aren't generally burning up from drought yet, the corn is showing lots of tip back on the ears and one has to wonder about how much more they'll lose if significant precip doesn't fall soon, within the next week – 10 days. Particularly interesting will be the fate of those recently pollinated blister stage ears in that regard.

Today we could only measure what we saw and that was potential. Our route's estimates were right at 155 bu./acre in the OH counties we sampled. Continued dry weather and/or a frost could make that outcome much different than today's estimates.

Many of the same concerns were valid for the soybeans on the route. Pods are flat, there were a lot of small pods that were measured today, the soybeans are generally short and like the corn need rain and time to mature to the potential yield they might have. In both the corn and soybeans, insect and disease pressure were lighter than at any time in the past 4 Crop Tours I've been on.

However, one issue worth mentioning is the amount of late season weed pressure showing up in the soybean fields. (Jeff Gunsolus will feel better upon reading this!) Normally we have seen very clean soybeans in the past. Many fields were showing some indications that the wet weather had allowed the canopy to stay open and allowed weeds to poke through and in some instances, one had to wonder if some of the giant ragweed and horseweed poking through weren't resistant biotypes.

On our trip into IN including samples pulled from Randolph, Wayne, Union, Rush and Henry Co.'s. mirrored what we saw on the OH side of the border in both crops. Average corn yield estimate on our route was 153 but the lack of soil moisture, early stages of development, N deficiency on corn as well as flat pods, dry soils and weed control concerns were common on the IN side.

Very few disease and insect issues in either crop on the day, prompting me to feel a little like the Maytag repairman. Oh sure, some very light gray leaf spot here and there, a few Japanese beetles mating in the soybeans and the occasional Western corn rootworm beetle in both crops but not enough to keep the interest of most self-respecting plant pathologists or entomologists. With my phone battery suddenly becoming somewhat suspect, frequent checks to make sure the thing was still working were common.

On to finish up IN and check out the east side of IL, ending up in Bloomington on the 19th.


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