From the Rows -- Mark Bernard -- Eastern Leg Day 1
Day one of the 2015 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour saw our group heading out of Columbus and taking a northwest trek running through the counties of Morrow, Crawford, Huron, Seneca, Wyandot, Hancock, Allen, Putnam and Van Wert. We managed 10 samples in OH and 3 in IN before we had to deadhead for the hotel and the nightly extravaganza. We had a couple new scouts today including driver Franco Jimenez originally from Mexico, now working for Abengoa stationed in Chesterfield MO. Also new to the Tour was Ryan Oskenhendler with Continental Grain out of New York. Rounding out the group today was Edouard Tallent originally from France but working now in Geneva Switzerland for Totsa Total Oil Trading.
This is my 12th tour of duty on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour and the route was similar to some I’ve been on in OH previously. Overall crop health was generally okay with minor leaf disease pressure in corn showing up recently in the form of a little gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight. Also some common smut was noted where conditions had become dry. Soybean diseases were generally very light with one small spot of SDS being about the extent of it. There were no few soybean aphids spotted today on the route, something I’ve seen enough of for one year back in MN.
The primary thing that stuck out in the corn fields in addition to the unevenness from the excess moisture was the ensuing nitrogen deficiency, with many plants fired up to the ear. With plants already showing signs of moving N from the lower leaves and stalks, it may make for some stalk issues later on. Coupled with some later maturity due to late planting dates and harvest could prove to make for an interesting harvest if stalk rot becomes an issue, particularly if some wet windy weather should occur at inopportune times.
The maturity of the crop in Ohio this time around was well behind what we noted last year. On our route we had some corn that was just starting to dent while in others some of the ears sampled were blister stage. The soybeans were generally R5 with some small pods still in the picture. Given some of the rains that soaked us in the morning and the promise of more to come, it’s likely that many of those small pods will actually produce beans. Yields on the corn ranged from a high in Allen Co. of 186 bu./acre to a low of 99 in Van Wert Co. The average corn yield on our route in OH today was 145. Bean pod counts were all over the board from a high of 1333 pods in a 3’ x 3’ in Putnam Co. to a low of 413 in Wyandot Co.
Excess soil moisture was a major limiting factor in many field operations. Some herbicide applications had been delayed and an open canopy allowed weeds to compete on a more even playing field. Evidence of fields being tiled were common where they had either been in winter wheat and not double cropped or they had been prevent plant acres. As we moved west towards IN corn became shorter, to the point that we could easily see above it and know where we were going. The effect of excess moisture on the soybeans themselves was less evident. There were some holes in fields to be sure but the soybeans appeared to have taken the hit and bounced back once the rain spigot shut off. In many of the fields, soils were very dry with cracks very much in evidence. Some of the later maturing corn we bumped into would also benefit from rain and moderate temperatures to finish.
My overall impression of the crop today was that it was about what I expected to see. The soybeans were perhaps a little better than anticipated although knowing just how good they really might be is several weeks off.
Tomorrow we push on through IN and into eastern IL.
For More Information
See full coverage of the 2015 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.
Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer's Virtual Crop Tour.
Follow Crop Tour on Twitter by searching #pftour15.