From the Rows with Mark Bernard
The first day out on the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour saw our split route wind from Columbus Ohio southwesterly on US 42, scoot between Dayton and Cincinnati then back north on 122 to I-70 where we stopped sampling. While we got to see a lot of concrete, asphalt and trees, we were able to scrape out 10 quality corn and soybean samples. Our crew today consisted of Jeremy Tupper from JGG America Inc. in IL, Edouard Tallent of Totsa Total Oil Trading SA, Geneva Switzerland, David Johnson from USDA/NASS from Fairfax VA and yours truly. The counties we sampled included Madison, Greene, Clark, Warren and Preble. The corn yields were probably as good as I’ve ever measured in OH in the 11 years on the Tour. Our samples showed a low rough corn yield of about 146 bu./acre in Greene Co. with a high rough corn yield of 254 bu./acre in Madison Co. Not a lot of disease issues in the area we traveled but there was some gray leaf spot, generally confined to the canopy below the ear. The insect pressure was also low although Pam Fretwell of AgWeb brought in a fine example of bird cherry oat aphids on an ear. These very dark green aphids occur on plants this time of year and while numerous, rarely have yield losses been documented on corn once it’s past tasseling. The interesting thing was the large number of aphid "mummies" on the ear, the result of tiny wasps having laid their eggs inside the aphid’s body. The maturity of the crop we saw was probably a bit of an anomaly compared to some of the routes to the north. We had corn that was primarily dough to dent stage all day whereas other routes were reporting milk to early dough stage corn. Talking to some who knew the area, the planting dates there were generally ahead of much of the rest of the state. Some nitrogen deficiency was also evident as were some drowned out spots. Made me feel right at home. In many instances, one could see the track yet from the side dress nitrogen as well as the large cracks in the ground from being extremely dry. All fields could use a rain and some will be necessary if this crop is to maintain the potential we measured today.
On the soybean side, pod counts were up on our route compared to last year’s numbers in crop reporting districts 4, 5 and 7. However, rains will be needed to maintain the small pods that we counted today. All but one sample had finished flowering. Weed control issues are becoming more commonplace as several scouts mentioned seeing what could possibly be glyphosate resistant waterhemp is cropping up. Our route was no different. Insect damage was slight but we ran across the usual compliment of bean leaf beetles and Japanese beetles as well as their little buddies the soybean aphids. It didn’t appear in any of the fields that levels of any of these insects were anywhere close to threshold levels. There were no comments from any of the other routes either regarding economic levels of insect pests. Soybean diseases we’re relatively scarce too although we did see one example of white mold (sclerotinia) in a field in Clark Co. As lush and tall as some of these soybeans were, there is certainly the potential to see this disease spread especially if the weather should decide to turn cool and damp. That appears unlikely anytime soon although stranger things have happened.
On to sample the rest of Indiana tomorrow but for now, it’s bedtime!