From the Rows with Mark Bernard
Day three of the 2012 Midwest Pro Farmer Crop Tour had our group running south of Bloomington IL, deadheading through Decatur then start sampling nearly a half hour south of there in Christian Co. We had a crew consisting of Daniel Redo, Corey Cherr, and Fiona Boal. We also had the Ag Day crew of Tyne Morgan and Don Green following us and they were with us through the samples we took in Montgomery and Macoupin counties. Look for the segment they shot on Ag Day tomorrow morning! Our route took us south of Springfield and then on an angle towards Keokuk IA where we crossed the IA border.
Harvest activity south of Decatur was brisk as well it should’ve been. Corn was going down and it was definitely ready. Samples were rumored to be as low as the mid-20’s to mid-teens in moisture. During the stop in Macoupin Co., we got a visit from a local sheriff’s department investigator who was just seeing what we were doing. He jokingly threatened to haul Daniel off to jail and we had a great visit about planting dates as well as the aspergillis we’d found in the corn. He knew about the potential aflatoxin issue and also knew there was concern locally about it. About the time we were thinking about heading out the farmer whose field we had sampled showed up so we visited with him about how the generous rains a few weeks prior had revitalized his soybean crop. Some have been downplaying the soybean crop and while it won’t be what it might’ve been as he pointed out, it would’ve been a lot worse.
Crops today in IL were extremely variable. On the corn side, we saw yields vary from a whole 2.4 bushel per acre in Schuyler Co. to a sample just over 200 in Pike Co. The average corn yield on our route today was 111 bushel per acre. The soybean samples we pulled today were all over the place but the pod counts were down substantially over last year. The high we had today on our route was 1296 in Scott Co. with a low of 480 in Schuyler Co. with an average of 947 pods in the 3’ x 3’ sampling areas.
In the soybean fields, we saw relatively light disease and insect pressure, a positive as it hangs on to try to make the finish line with these extremely dry soil conditions on a positive note. With the exception of a few corn ear worms, stalk rot and potential for aspergillis infection in the IL corn crop, there has been little for insects or disease to worry about.
Some have asked what the potential effect of aflatoxin is. While it is a carcinogenic to humans, the toxicity is more of a concern to farm animals. While it can kill them, they are more likely to show chronic effects of aflatoxicosis. Symptoms include reduced rate of gain, hemorrhages and liver damage. It may also make them more susceptible to disease.
On through the rest of IA and a chunk of MN to finalize the numbers there. See you in Owatonna!