From the Rows - Jason Franck - Day 1 Western Tour
Pro Farmer crop tour 2013 started off with a bang! Yes, we hit the road on Monday morning, and coming from eastern Iowa, I had preconceived thoughts about what to expect on the west tour this year. My thoughts were wrong!
Following comments on-line about what the crop was like out west, was leaving me feeling mixed about what to expect? Many producers thought they had a crop to remember, and others mentioned yields that would equal last year. Well the first day offered both.
My group left Sioux Falls and headed west about 20 miles and then turned north. I remember my first field last year in South Dakota; it was not worth writing home about. Today was different! Nice plump ears were what awaited us on our first check and 199.1 was the outcome. Wow! Last year, I think it was 52 and many of the fields had been harvested for silage. The consistency level through SD was impressive. Without stepping a foot in many of the fields, we could tell that there was something special going on in SD. But, maturity vs. finishing this crop is going to be the biggest hurdle producers will face.
So, let's find our shining star in the soybeans? As with the corn, they also need Mother Nature to be on their side. Many of the samples we pulled out of SD were more immature than I expected. Blossoms were found in almost every field we pulled a sample in. This did start to change as we approached the border and started to progress into Nebraska.
Really I think going into this tour many were wondering how well this crop could be and how much time do we need to finish it off. And seeing what I saw today, confirms that most of the crop (corn & beans) need 5-6 more weeks of perfect weather, to make this crop in SD and Nebraska something special.
We continued heading South through Nebraska with our final destination in Grand Island. As expected, the dry land was showing moisture stress. What I found to be most unusual was how the irrigated areas were not pumping out huge yields. Why is that? In many cases with our group, we would sample our normal three random ears from each stop and one ear would be challenged. This can bring down the avg. very quickly. Additionally, I was surprised with some stops offering lower ear counts. Based on the variability in ear placements and maturities amongst ears, emergence could not have been ideal.
As in South Dakota, the soybeans that we observed in Nebraska also showed to be lacking in maturity. Many of the pods were extremely flat-seeded, and seemed to be lacking that top cluster. On the bright side, the pod counts were higher than I expected. Additionally, we went the whole day finding only one field with any disease pressure of significance to challenge yield. This should favor the growers if Mother Nature can provide the correct finish.
So, as always, day one was an education. As the scouts talked along the way and conversed at the end of the day, they are all learning different experiences as they traveled through the two states. The market/growers are hungry for information, and we are ready for the call of duty to provide this valued asset.