From the Rows Day 2 - Mark Bernard

August 23, 2017 06:09 AM
FJPro Crop Tour Map

Today’s route in Indiana went from north from Fisher’s about 20 miles and then angled across the state to the west where we crossed over into Illinois near Cayuga. Today’s contestants included Conrado Zanon from Germinare in Uberlandia Brazil, Stefania Boer from Molinos Agro in Buenos Aires Argentina, Xisokai Zhang from China, and from the USDA’s FAS in Washington DC, Justin Choe and Tayo Akinngbe. This was a route I’d probably been on or at least parts of it before the maps were redrawn although that’s starting to become a blur.

The counties we sampled in IN included Hamilton, Boone, Clinton, Montgomery and Fountain with the fields all coming from USDA crop reporting districts 4 and 5. Evident when we started sampling were the large areas where excess water, had impacted early season crop growth. In Hamilton, Clinton and Boone Co.’s there were areas where additional corn had been stabbed in and areas of fields replanted in others. Based on those initial samples we were wondering if things would go downhill from there. They did not.

We pulled a corn sample that ran 303 bu./acre in Montgomery Co., contrasted to a low sample for the day in Clinton Co. of133 bu./acre. Our route average was 193 bu./acre. We had three samples in the group today over 200 bu./acre which really pulled our average up. Do I think the sample from the field that ran 303 bu./acre indicates that’s what it’ll yield that this fall? Are you kidding me? It represents one sample from one field in one county in one crop reporting district and that’s it.

The soybeans samples today were a little more consistent than yesterday’s OH sampling with a high of 1412 pods in the 3’x3’ square coming from Montgomery Co. and a low of 856 in Hamilton Co. The average on our route today was 1122. Not bad considering these weren’t all necessarily great looking fields from the road. Little disease or insect pressure was generally seen although we did find a small amount of SDS. Recalling some of the Crop Tours of yore, given the circumstances it surprised me somewhat that we haven’t seen more of it on this year’s edition. Given some of the seed treatments and better genetics available it probably shouldn’t. We encountered a few wooly bear caterpillars that were inconsequential and viewed a few Japanese beetles doing what Japanese beetles do this time of year.

Something that was probably more evident in many IN fields this time around was the weed escapes. Glyphosate resistant waterhemp, horseweed and giant ragweed were the most common problems although the amount of volunteer corn noticed in many fields was surprising. Sure, it probably isn’t a big deal in terms of yield loss and whether or not it’ll make enough corn in a lot of fields to trigger dockage at the elevator might be questionable. However, it is a magnet for rootworm beetles to feed on silks and pollen, and likely a place to lay their eggs in the soybeans if they’re not already doing so. It also gives them one more crack at the traits in that volunteer corn, potentially hastening the development of resistance.  

We pulled only three samples in IL today on our route; the first one was memorable. We had just crossed the border and were in Vermilion Co. where we found a perfect spot to pull a sample. No sooner had we started heading towards the fields and someone in a pickup came down the road pulling a trailer with a zero turn mower on it. When he stopped to ask what we were up to he identified himself as the farmer owning the fields. I thought to myself, one of two things is will happen here: He’ll either be happy to see us or I’m gonna get a butt chewing.

I was relieved when I told him who we were and what we were doing that he was familiar with the Crop Tour. He smiled and kidded me about sampling some of his other fields that were a lot worse. He also asked about a hat and luckily Justin had one to spare. He jokingly said before he drove off that he’d appreciate it if we pulled a few of the weeds out of the beans. We obliged him and left a few of their carcasses on the edge of the field as a token of our appreciation. By the way, there were 1390 pods in the soybean 3’x3’ and the corn sample ran 206 bu./acre.

On to finish IL tomorrow and to IA City for the largest gathering we are likely to see on this year’s Crop Tour. Hope to see you there!

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