Well, another day of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour is over and complete and with a turn out like tonight, we can’t thank everyone enough for how this tour is put together. We understand that people want to hear the information that we are presenting to them and for everyone who makes that possible- THANK YOU! We packed the house again tonight and with the help of all the sponsors who bring these people to the meetings, it truly is a great honor to work with everyone.
And enough with the sob story, but overall today my route was better than some of the other vehicles out scouting. I rode along with a route that went just east of Highway 71 up to Spencer. After our first few stops and counting and counting pods, we thought that the beans were actually going to be something better than what we were expecting and we were going to have a great story to tell everyone tonight at the meeting. But, unfortunately we can only wish of dreams like this coming true and after we made our way north of Carrol, our routes bean averages dropped dramatically bringing us in at under 1,000 in a 3x3 area after starting closer to 1,400. So, and if any of you know me, I love to ask questions and one ongoing argument throughout the night was what’s the cause of this? Planting date or drought? With over 14 inches of rain in these areas in the month of May only, you would think drought would not be a problem. But, as you move north- the spring precipitation measurements keep increasing while we also see more drought stress in these areas. And as an agronomist would answer my question- it depends. And it really did depend because of the variety of soils and planting dates that we see throughout crop districts 7 and 4. We drove through an area of some really sandy soils and that crop needs a drink of water soon or they will see an extreme loss in yield potential. There are three main take aways from today’s bean reports:
- It’s not pretty- This crop is so variable because of drowned out areas and the crazy spring. We can’t expect for a perfect looking field with above average fields because of the spring that we had. We just can’t expect to get a good bean crop after planting a field on June 5th. And it’s really not possible with the recent cool spell. There are not enough GDUs out there to make this a mature crop at this point in the season.
- Tall beans don’t make for a good crop- Early in the morning in crop district 7, we were seeing some really tall fields but there wasn’t nearly enough pods as you would think that there should be and I am assuming that this is due to a lodging problem. The beans that were just over knee high were the plants that we were seeing produce the most pods. We saw a plant that was producing pods in clusters of 4 or 5 with 3 to 4 beans per pod. These fields are going to show a good crop as long as we get some water in those fields soon and avoid an early frost date.
- And finally- drought stress. Yes it is out there and like said in Nebraska, it takes a while for a crop to recover from a drought even in the coming years after it takes place. We love moisture, but we need it in increments and that just isn't what we saw today. From all areas that were scouted today, any of them could use a drink and need water and some more heat within the next 10 days because that will truly determine how this crop is going to turn out.
Our corn crop numbers were average and like stated by Western leader, Chip Flory, we said it at the beginning of the summer that it will be the beans that will be hurting more than the corn. We will talk more about the corn once we see the eastern tour numbers from Iowa tomorrow after they make their way to Rochester to meet up with our route in MN. Even though our numbers were decent, we can’t say much about the overall crop because of what we have an idea of what is coming. The corn will take a hard fall if we see all the prevent plant numbers we have seen within the last couple of weeks.
Today we will make our way into Minnesota where we will wrap up the final day of the tour in Rochester, MN. Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #pftour13 and on agweb.com, ProFarmer.com, and more. Follow the tour leaders: @ChipFlory, @BGrete, @JasonFranckNC, @MNWeedWizzard, @Emily_FloryAg14, and @DonnaMc_Ag for in field updates, and @JuliJohnston and @MeghanPedersen for tour updates and data information.