(Emily Flory Carolan is an Account Manager in western Wisconsin for Crop Tour sponsor DuPont Pioneer, and helps with data management and to assess crop conditions on the Tour.)
I’ve made it to Nebraska City! After a great dairy meeting in the northwoods of Wisconsin, I’m on the tour and ready for a great day in western Iowa on Wednesday. But first, the scouts had a great day in Nebraska where they pulled over 620 samples in the bean and corn fields across the crop districts 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9. They pulled record samples in crop district 9 where they spent most of their afternoon heading into Nebraska City.
Many scouts, including Luke Lauritsen who’s a farmer from the scouted state, said the crop looked better on Tuesday this year over last because of one thing- no green snap! Last year the traveled routes saw miles and miles of green snap where hail damage was a common sight. The crop this year continued to be a lot healthier and has set up to be an average crop pending a good finish to the season.
With a more consistent feel to the routes taken today, the Farm Journal report of all Nebraska sample data was 165.42 bu. per acre on corn, up 4.3% over last year with the highest irrigated number of samples taken at 50% and a 1131 pod count in a 3x3 ft. square, down 7.5% from last year. Both corn and bean crops overall looked disease free and average throughout all scout reports with the biggest damage being the weed-infestation that the Nebraska growers have taken new measures to control this year. Waterhemp and Palmer Amaranth reared their ugly heads multiple times today and scouts reported cases where both were a lot taller than what we saw last year during the third week of August. After Nick Ehlers, grower from Tipton, IA, came through the bottom districts of eastern Nebraska he noted the weed pressure was worse than ever before due to the last few weeks of rain giving the weeds an opportunity to take over in many spots. Both weeds can germinate at any time when the soil is over 62 degrees and seeds are less than 1 inch deep. Once the species is in the field, the weeds spread their small seed across acres, pushing weed control to a whole new level.Tim Gregerson, from Hermon, NE, said the weeds have struck up many conversations about new control methods and how to suppress the fine seeds they disperse.
I’m going to say it one more time about this Nebraska crop- average. I know that sounds as average as it gets but that is about as clear as the scouts saw it when describing this crop. When traveling through Nebraska over the past six years I’ve been on crop tour, it always seems like there is more variability than consistency. It is because if you ask most growers from the state about how they water their crop when irrigated, it isn’t to produce a monster crop every time around.
It is to produce what they can with the environment they are given and hold the crop together until it rains. They are high management growers working with the second lowest total rainfall on average across the states we cover on the crop tour behind South Dakota. With average rainfall since the beginning of August and modest temperatures, this crop still has a chance to finish on trend, but just that.
The scouts on the tour found that there is not a lot of room for higher end yield potential, but the lows were not as bad as expected either. Like I said- average!
Scouts and I on the western leg of the Farm Journal Crop Tour will be scouting fields in the western part of Iowa ending up in Spencer where we are told we will see a drought-stressed crop. But, like always noted, we won’t know exactly how the crop looks until we get past the end rows and pull a few husks back!