From the Rows -- Mark Bernard -- Eastern Leg Day 3
Day three of the 2015 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had our group dead heading north out of Bloomington IL to an area southwest of Aurora then across IL to the west primarily on US 34. We sampled in the counties of Marshall, Livingston, LaSalle, Bureau and Henry. A couple samples were also pulled. The driver of today’s group was Lin Tan, originally from Beijing China working for DTN out of Johnston IA. Our statisticians were Tony Dahlman from Washington DC working for NASS and Marie Pierson of CF Industries from Deerfield IL. I was navigator to the stars for a second day in a row.
We saw some extremely variable crop today. On the 9 corn samples we pulled from IL we averaged 185 bu./acre bu./acre with a high of 213 in LaSalle Co. with a low of 138 also in LaSalle. On the 9 soybean samples we pulled from the same counties, our average in the 3x3 was1092 pods, with a high of 1903 in LaSalle Co. and a low of 770 in Livingston Co.
In the soybeans, we saw relatively light disease and insect pressure. There was more evidence of Japanese beetle feeding and more were noted in the fields. Some routes noted SDS but none was a problem on our route. Recent rains should help the soybeans to fill some of the smaller pods that are on the plants yet and add to the potential they already have.
There were a few things in the corn to be concerned about including the nitrogen loss that was rampant across many of the cornfields we sampled today. Some apparently did some late season side dressing as we found relatively fresh trenches from a high clearance rig in one of our last stops in IL. Along with the nitrogen losses from both leaching and denitrification, the integrity of the stalks in IL will be something to keep an eye on as we head towards harvest. Those pale colored fields do not bode well for standing late into the harvest season. Worst of all as Pioneer agronomist Jim Lafrenz pointed out at tonight’s meeting, corn may be behind on maturity relative to those where nitrogen levels were sufficient. Speaking of maturity, in a field adjacent to one we sampled, both severe Goss’s wilt and northern corn leaf blight were noted. The plants were shutting down and some of the ears were drooping. We checked the ears to discover the milkline nearly ¾’s of the way down the kernel making it about a week away from physiological maturity. The farmer will not be a happy camper.
Looking forward to sampling the rest of IA and MN to see if it’s as good as we think it might be. Some of the sweet corn yields in South Central MN have been in excess of 10 ton per acre in MN. The old rule of thumb used to be that multiplying the sweet corn yield by 20 gave a ballpark figure of what kind of corn yields to expect. That relationship hasn’t always been bulletproof however. In preliminary sampling performed by Logan Wenzel, one of my company scouts before I left on Crop Tour indicated corn yields between 180 and 205 bu./acre. Iowans have been crowing about their crop for much of the summer so it will be interesting to see how good they really are. That’s why we’re out here taking the samples.
On to our destination in Rochester as we finish up the rest of IA and MN!
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