From the Rows with Mark Bernard
Day two of the 2014 Midwest Pro Farmer Crop Tour found us heading north with a crew of four that included driver David Moore of Moore Farms from Frisco TX, Jack Lee with CF Industries from Deerfield IL, Jean Phillipe Boucher representing Grain Wiz from Quebec Canada and yours truly as navigator. We dead headed about an hour north from Indianapolis to North Manchester where we started our sampling. We went from there to cross the northern side of IN going through booming metropolis’s such as Monterey, Beardstown and Walnut on a about straight line to the Illinois border east of Kankakee. You know you’re out in the sticks when you try to explain to the Farm Journal television crew out of South Bend where you are and they can’t find the little town on their map. Counties we sampled in today in IN included Wabash, Kosciusko, Marshall, Fulton, Pulaski, Jasper and Newton.
Corn yields on today’s route were more variable than yesterday’s OH route. The soils in the area we traveled are lighter and many fields have many center pivots. We recorded a low of 129 bu./acre in Kosciusko Co. We pulled our high sample at 224 bu./acre in Pulaski Co. This field was irrigated so it goes to show what a difference a little water at the right time makes. On the soybean side, pod counts were on the low side with an average of 1058 on our route. A lot of flat pods yet and it will take some rain in order for these fields to maintain the pods they have.
Being a bug, weed and disease guy, I was more in my element today. There actually were some issues in some of the soybean fields. Not all were serious on our route but they were noticed. There was of course some N deficiency, along some lodging where western corn rootworm beetles have been prevalent. In the soybeans we found the first SDS we’ve seen on this Crop Tour. There was also some white mold showing up in some of the nicer looking bean fields making me wonder what an increase in moisture might do to them. Downy mildew was also noted in some fields. Add to that some active Japanese beetles and spider mites. One of the fields had levels of soybean aphids that were approaching threshold levels. It never hurts to take a look to see what kind of pressure you might have. While the prices will likely be down from last year, there still is no reason to let this pest take bushels off the top even with prices where they are.
The IN crop got some much needed rain in the form of a thunderstorm that came highballing across IL and through the area we’d just sampled. It probably wasn’t enough to take all of the crop through to harvest but it should put it a lot closer to the finish line and help maintain the potential that was there on our route.
Speaking of the rain, it was a quick hitting storm when we saw it coming at us as we were close to the IL/IN border near I-65. We wasted no time seeing the lightning to quick sit down for lunch. This time I was ready with the rain suit and overshoes I’d packed. Since everything was wet, rain pants were my friend. We pulled 4 more samples until we had to head in. The IL corn samples we took from Ford and Kankakee Co.’s lived up to their billing with an average of nearly 225 bu./ac. The soybeans while not as impressive were solid with average pod counts in our IL route 3’x 3’ sample coming in at 1328.
Tomorrow it’s on to finish IL crop estimates. For now it’s time for some shuteye...