From the Rows - Emily Carolan - Western Tour Day 2
What an exciting day! As we made our way across eastern Nebraska, the entertainment level of the scouts has heightened. The scouts this year are top notch and are putting in the hours to get the best data in a year where uncertainty is the name of the game. After spending a day and a half in Nebraska, the numbers were revealed with no surprise after seeing the crop through the area covered.
We were on a route that took us north of Interstate 80 across crop district 6 where we were along a storm path for about 60 miles. After hearing from other routes, the July 7th wind storm that caused minimal goose necking to 50% greensnap came at the wrong time. It may not have limited ear counts, but it did limit the grain inches per ear.
When scouting fields with greensnap overall ear counts were actually around average making it hard not to believe that the Nebraska growers may have started to pump up their populations a little to shoot for a higher yield under irrigation. As we moved east, the stands became more consistent, but irrigated fields also became harder to find and populations were in the 25,000 ear/acre range.
The ears found on our route showed a little different story from what we saw yesterday in northern Nebraska and southeast South Dakota. Tipback was not as big of an issue, but grain inches were shorter. Now- 'why' is the first question that was in everyone's head, and early growing season conditions coupled with above-normal temps are the main issue growers from this area experienced.
The first stress that hit this area was the heat in mid to late June. Pioneer Account Manager, Trevor Houghton from the Nebraska City area, showed a temperature graph of the season at tonight's meeting. One of the main indicators that kernel development was potentially going to be off happened back around June 20th when daytime temperatures reached 90 degrees and night time lows were above 70 degrees for a full week. At this point in the growing season, the majority of the crop was between V12 to V18. This is a crucial time for kernel development because it is when the plant is determining how many kernels will fill a kernel row. This is one reason why this crop is going to be limited, along with the greensnap found across the routes today.
Disease pressure was limited with spots of Gray Leaf Spot and Southern Rust starting to make an appearance in fields. With the stage the crop, little to no yield damage should come from either disease. As we progress through the season, diseases like Anthracnose can still limit yield during the grain fill period, but right now not much is expected. More importantly, monitoring these diseases should help you prioritize which fields should be harvested first this fall.
As some routes moved south of us, many questions started to arise about the waterhemp in soybean fields and just how big of an impact it was going to make. It seems to me the growers who were able to apply the right concoction of weed control at the right time were showing better weed management than we saw last year. But, of course, there are always going to be two tales to a story. The early August rains this area experienced brought moisture back to the canopies and mixed with the heat we have experienced, it was perfect conditions for another outbreak of waterhemp in the soybean fields. Waterhemp can germinate at any part of the year and given the right environment, this weed will shoot out of the ground before there is anything that can be done about it.
The yield limitations of waterhemp are going to be determined by how early the outbreak started and if multiple germinations have happened within a field. But, overall, it seems like the soybean crop has the ability to put out a large enough pod count and is far enough along that the waterhemp (in "manageable levels") will not make a big impact.
The bean yields found are extremely consistent and when very little issues arise except for a little rain stress come mid-July, we know the bean counts should be around average. One big thing that is helping us put our faith in this bean crop is the fact that rain is bouncing off of the window as I type this right now. This is going to help finish the crop if enough areas see the rains tonight.
Tomorrow we are going to head into western Iowa where we'll take a look at what crop districts 1, 4, and 7 have to offer. We're excited about the opportunity. Fields across the river from us right now are waiting for us and we'll make sure to keep everyone posted as we find new things in one of the powerful 'I' states in a predicted record-breaking crop year.
Be sure to follow AgWeb's coverage of Farm Journal Media's Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Watch reports from the field by following Farm Journal Media journalists along for the ride on Twitter: Alison Rice at @agweb_alison, Ben Potter at @potterben, Chip Flory at @ChipFlory, Brian Grete at @bgrete, and Betsy Jibben at @BetsyJibben. And check AgWeb each evening this week for the day's freshest summary on what they're seeing in the field.
Additional Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour information is available on ProFarmer.com.