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From the Rows -- Day 4 Mark Bernard

00:51AM Aug 22, 2014

The final day of the 2014 Midwest Pro Farmer Crop Tour had us heading out to the north of Iowa City to start sampling in the counties of Fayette, Linn, Mitchell, Buchanon, Worth, Howard and Winneshiek in IA.

The crew today included driver Ken Lovett of ADM from Decatur, IL as driver, Mike Hirtzer of Reuters from Chicago, Mark Clift from Southwest Securities in Dallas TX as navigator and me. While sampling fields is work, we still have a lot of fun and see a lot of things in the process. This was a great group of people to sample with and a great way to end our final leg of the Tour.

At lunchtime, for the second year in a row we stopped in Decorah at the Angry Pickle. The food was excellent again, earning them a five star Crop Tour culinary rating for the second consecutive year.

The day was relatively uneventful if you leave out the fact that it rained on us while sampling for the third day in a row while on our route. This hasn’t happened in several years on Crop Tour to me. This brought about muddy conditions on the last half of our samples today. One positive in all this was the fact that rains had finally come to areas that had gone begging previously. This should help cement the yields we saw today especially since more rain is likely to fall over the next week.

Warmer temperatures should also help move some of the flat soybean pods we found in places along not to mention the early dough stage corn. Light insect and disease pressure won’t hurt either.

All in all, the corn crop we saw today was about what we expected. We knew that the crop had been short on moisture and this was evidenced by the tip back on the ears in the corn as well as the general decline in bean pod counts as we worked our way north. 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. Our high yield was 223 bu./acre in Mitchell Co. and our low was 112 bu./acre in Howard Co. with an average of 177 bu./acre today on our route.

The lower soybean pod counts as we headed north likely foretell the tale not of a soybean crop that could’ve been. Not enough days in the season left to make this crop a contender. Our high pod count in the 3’ x 3’ square was 2095 in Buchanon and the low was 749 in Worth with an average count of 1211. A major part of the problem was the low relative plant counts in our 3’ sample many times well below 20 even in 30" rows.

As I close out year 11 on the Crop Tour, I’d like to thank our sponsors for sponsoring this year’s Crop Tour and to 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 US corn and soybean crop in addition to meeting some great people from all over the world. Would highly recommend it to anyone interested.