From the Row -- Mark Bernard -- Eastern Day 4

August 22, 2013 10:39 PM

The final day of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had us heading out to the north of Iowa City to start sampling in the counties of Johnson, Linn, Jones, Delaware, Clayton, Fayette and Winneshiek in Iowa. On the Minnesota part of the route we sampled in my home county of Fillmore as well as Olmsted. The crew today included Bill Bayliss from Ohio as driver, Leslie Ahmed from USDA-Washington, D.C., Robert Neukomm of Arion Group in NYC and me. While sampling fields is work, we still have a lot of fun and see a lot of things in the process. What a great group of people to sample with though, and great way to end the final leg of the Tour. At lunchtime, we stopped in Decorah, Iowa and asked one of the natives about restaurants and were advised that the Angry Pickle might fit the bill. The food was excellent and the company was incomparable.

About the time we were ready to go into the restaurant, I received a call from one of my consulting clients regarding a missing iPad that they’d found on the Minnesota Hwy 30 east of New Richland. He had poked around and figured out that it belonged to one of the western Crop Tour’s participants. A quick phone call to Chip who happened to be in New Richland at the Willows allowed for the iPad to be returned to its rightful owner. The wonders of technology never cease to amaze me.

All in all, the corn crop we saw today was about what we expected. We pulled a 253 bu. per acre bu. corn sample out of Jones Co. in Iowa. We saw corn that had maturity and tipback issues for the fourth state in a row. Soybean pod counts were down from last year although we did find some over 1,200 pods in the 3’x3’ samples. The maturity on both crops was the story. It took us over a half hour to find our last sample. There weren’t any fields of corn that were brown silk for miles. There were cornfields we had to pass on both sides of the border that simply would never make corn unless it decided not to freeze until late October. The soybeans may be a little luckier although the yield potential due to the late planting date will make it difficult for them to make much more than 30 bu. per acre from experience in this latitude.

All in all, the Iowa crop on our route lived up to the prior billing. It wasn’t supposed to be the best crop ever and it certainly wasn’t. The soybean pod counts were down and likely foretell the tale not of a soybean crop that could’ve been, but one that never was on either side of the border. Building snowmen on May 2 and not being able to plant after May 16 until after June 1 severely compromised the potential of both crops.

I would like to thank our sponsors for sponsoring this year’s Crop Tour and Pro Farmer for asking me to serve as Crop Tour Agronomic Consultant again this year. Sure, it’s a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun and a wonderful way to see the U.S. corn and soybean crop in addition to meeting some great people from all over the world. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested.     


For More Information

See full coverage of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.

Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer's Virtual Crop Tour.

Additional information available on AgWeb.

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