Last day! What a week it has been on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. On this leg of the western Tour, we found our way through Minnesota and we ended our night in Rochester Minnesota to a large crowd for the Tour recap and taping of U.S. Farm Report.
The Minnesota crop takes on a little bit different story than the other states we have toured through. Where other states saw average rain totals but the timing was bad, this MN crop never saw the lack of rain at any part in the growing season. They have had adequate amounts at each shower they had and you can tell this in the overall crop health of the state.
One important notice today is we had a higher ear count than expected. It is hard to walk through the end rows planted 48 rows deep because the stalks that are planted very consistently. You can tell when the crop was put in the ground either the middle of April or the beginning of May, the ground was fit. It is what happened after the crop that was planted mid-April that is causing problems while we were out taking samples. The crop experienced an exceptionally cold rain around April 27th and it caused inhibition chilling in some areas. This is going to shock the seed and cause it to use more energy than normal and is going to ‘freeze’ any growth that is supposed to happen as soil temperatures are going to warm back up. The seed will potentially come out of it but is behind the plants that did not experience this. Even if the plant is 2-3 growth stages behind the others, it will eventually become a weed, just like what we had all Tour long. From the route I was on today, I would expect 15% of all ears had this happen and only have 1-2 inches of grain at the bottom of the ear.
SDS (Sudden Death Syndrome) is also a new site along the route today as we headed East. It is not as heavy as what the eastern leg of the Tour saw but there is a presence in a few fields. The pressure though, isn’t that heavy. SDS enters the plant when it is in the early vegetative growth stages due to wet, cool soils. The first place where the plant will be affected is the leaf discoloration. The leaves will begin to turn brown with a yellow halo around the area affected. The next sign is going to be the rotting of roots causing the plant to die pre-maturely. It is going to limit some fields by a few percentage points but what we went through today should not be set back only due to this disease.
The pod counts are strong, but have a long way to go. The one remarkable thing I have noticed is how close together the nodes are and the number of pods per nod. The plants are filled to the top and are showing signs of an exceptional bean yield here in Minnesota.
With mud on our boots, we ended up in Rochester where we had a great discussion with the scouts, growers we’ve met along the way, and others who brought this tour to life this year. It has been a journey and I am excited to see everyone, plus hopefully more, along the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour in 2017!