From the Rows -- Mark Bernard -- Eastern Leg Day 4
Final day of the 2015 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had us dead heading out to the west and south of Iowa City. The crew today included a split crew of Maynard Gudmundson of NAU from MN, Mark Weinraub from Reuters out of Chicago IL, and additional route driver Pam Fretwell from AgWeb out of Mexico MO. We had a great day of sampling and the day went by very quickly. We weren’t the first group in from the field but at least we weren’t the last. While sampling fields is work, we still manage to have some fun in the process.
Our route today headed west out of IA City, then made a loop to the south of I-80, then came back north and made a relatively straight shot to the MN border, staying just east of I-35. We covered the counties of Iowa, Poweshiek, Mahaska, Tama, Hardin, Franklin and Cerro Gordo. We saw lots of cattle, fences and alfalfa in addition to the crops we were looking for initially. Working north from I-80 that changed fairly rapidly.
The corn yield average on our route today was 201 bu./acre with a high of 246 in Poweshiek Co. and a low of 142 in Mahaska Co. In the soybeans our high pod count was 1523 pods in the 3’x3’ from Poweshiek Co. and the low was 806 in Cerro Gordo Co. The average pod count on our route today in the 3’x3’ was 1216.
Insect pressure was light but there was plane banking, getting lined up to spray soybean aphids in one of the Hardin Co. fields we were considering sampling. We opted to choose another field. SDS was all common in the area south of I-80 we sampled with many fields showing the evidence that it was starting to really take off. As we moved north the amount of SDS noted lessened and the impact on yield is likely to be minimal there.
All in all, the corn crop we saw today was very impressive, certainly among the best I recall on the 12 years on the Tour. The Iowa folks have been quick to point out this year that they have a good corn crop and they weren’t kidding. Corn crop health on our route was generally good. Some occasional northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot and physoderma brown spot. We did note some lodging and goose-necking in some fields. Given the northern corn rootworm adults present, one would suspect they were part of the equation. Some nitrogen deficiency was also evident although not close to as widespread as what had been seen the previous three days.
Would like to thank our sponsors for sponsoring this year’s Crop Tour and to Pro Farmer for asking me to serve as Tour Consultant again this year. It’s work but it’s also a lot of fun and a wonderful way to see the US corn and soybean crop as well as getting acquainted with some of the greatest people from all over the world you’ll ever want to meet. Would highly recommend it to anyone interested.
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