From the Rows - Terry Johnston - Western Tour, Day 1


From the Rows - Terry Johnston - Western Tour Day 1

It's good to be back on the western leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour after a couple years away! There were lots of familiar faces and many new ones in the room for our crop scout meeting on Sunday evening. It's amazing how the western tour continues to grow. Part of the experience of going on Crop Tour is the great folks you meet from all over the world… they come to see the crop for themselves… it's impressive! At this point in time with so much information avaible 24-7, it's hard not to have a pre-conceived notion of what's going on with crop before you ever walk into a field. But on the other hand, I think it just makes people more curious to see it for themselves.

We headed out this morning from Sioux Falls, SD, under cloudy skies and many of us used the windshield wipers off and on most of the day. My route headed just west of Sioux Falls and then south into Nebraska, jogged a bit south, back west again, then south into Grand Island.

The southeast SD crop overall looks good, there are certain spots that had isolated issues with hail damage and in some areas with lighter soils showed drought stress from earlier (just 24 hours earlier) in the season. We did see a few bean fields with fairly heavy aphid pressure, but overall the crop is pretty healthy. Comparing this year to my many years on the western leg of the tour, thing is about green as I've seen. We've had concerns in the past about the maturity of the crop but both the corn and beans are in good shape as long as the growing season is not prematurely ended. This South Dakota crop has the potential to be a good crop and will likely be better that last year.

As we moved into northeast Nebraska the crop looked good and continued to get better as we worked our way south and then west toward Grand Island. For the most part soil moisture is not a concern this season. There was some evidence that certain areas were a little too wet earlier in the season and/or direr later on, but overall plant population and plant health is pretty good. There were stretches of hail damage along the route, but it was isolated.

We didn't see significant disease or insect pressure in the beans. There were a few cases of stalk borer that were reported, by a couple crop scouts and a local agronomist. Aphid pressure was evident, but lighter than what we saw earlier in South Dakota. There were areas where SDS was beginning to be apparent and could progress as we move toward the end of the growing season. Interestingly we didn't see any blooms on the beans, which is I believe is a first; we generally see a few blooms on the plants, but not this year. This bean crop has good potential and with a normal finish to the season. It should yield well.

We did see some disease pressure in the corn; Northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot and small amount of Goss's wilt. There was a fair amount of hopper damage in the corn and a local agronomist did confirm that was an issue and most growers had sprayed their corn. Most fields had some tip-back, a few that were pretty significant, it took the top end of the yield potential from those fields and from what we could tell, it was likely a lack of nitrogen. Most of the corn was in milk to early dent stage, so barring an early frost, maturity is not an issue for the corn crop. From what we saw in northeast Nebraska, they have a good corn crop coming.

Looking forward to seeing more of this Nebraska crop as we head from Grand Island to Nebraska City!

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