Eastern Tour Day Two: Mark Bernard''s Indiana Wrap Up

August 18, 2008 07:00 PM

Day 2 of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour we headed north and west sampling corn and soybeans in counties of Howard, Clinton, Hancock, Carroll, Jasper and Pulaski in IN and then crossing into IL sampling in Iroquois, McClean and Woodford Co.'s. Today's crew consisted of expert driver Steve Weaver of GB Capital from Peoria Heights, IL, John Orr farmer and cattleman extraordinaire from Fayette, IA, Don Harris farmer and current eastern leg Crop Tour napping champion from Losantville, IN, and yours truly.

The crop was very different than what we encountered yesterday in terms of maturity. Corn samples were all from dough to dent. In addition we saw ear counts well over 100 several times, longer ear length and diameter along with generally good to excellent crop health. Soil moisture was better as well with the soybean samples all being rated at least a three. In each location we could scrape the topsoil away with our foot and find moisture.

As far as yield on the IN side of the border, our route had to have taken a prime cut out of the meat of the IN corn growing area. The yield on our route today averaged 189 bu./acre, something one probably wouldn't have guessed given yesterday's sampling. Several other routes had better days in the yield department as well due to many of the same factors so the 163.82 bu./acre yield projection is no fluke. Soil moisture however remained a concern over much of the area sampled again today by other routes however and with soft dough stage corn, it will still take about 3 weeks to be totally out of danger from a frost.

Soybeans gave us similar results to the other scouts on the eastern tour also. Our group's average pod count in IN wound up at 1248 in a 3' x 3' square, compared to the 1298.77 average for IN. Our group's sample however contained one zero as the result of a pretty looking double-crop soybean field. Lots of flowers but no pods yet. The soybeans in general were more heavily podded, generally with 3 to 4 pods per node on the main stem and there were far more pods containing 3 and even 4 beans per pod today.

Soybean disease and insect pressure have been low. Some SDS found today but levels are very light so far and dry conditions should slow disease development. Overall, this year's Indiana crop impressed me, something it hasn't done in the previous 4 years on the tour. Our eastern IL sampling included the counties of Iroquois, McClean and Woodford. Corn yield estimates were on a par with what we had found in IN at 186 bu./acre as were soybean pod counts at 1211 in a 3' x 3' area.

At the evening meeting, indications from the Pioneer presentation were that a large percentage of the corn acres had been treated with fungicides in IL and it showed based on the low levels of leaf disease being found.

Tomorrow we finish our IL sampling and determine whether the areas that were hurt will pull the yield down enough to matter or if they have rebounded substantially. See you tomorrow from IA City!

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

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