From the Rows with Terry Johnston
We headed from Nebraska City, NE, to Spencer, IA, today sampling the western one-third of the state. It was cloudy and cool when we hit the road this morning and before noon the sun came out and it was sunny and cool the rest of the day. It made for some happy tour scouts!
We started in southwest Iowa and then worked our way north. As we started looking at the crops and taking samples it was evident that it was there too much moisture earlier in the season and in some areas the excess rain has continued.
The corn fields in southwestern and west-central Iowa showed signs of stress from the excess moisture. The plants were discolored and uneven mainly from denitrification and nitrogen leaching. We found more disease in the crop than in the previous two days. We saw a variety of diseases including Goss’ wilt, gray leaf spot, common rust and stock rot (among others) in varying degrees. The ear counts were pretty good, but with the added stress on the crop the ear length suffered. Moving into the northwest part of the state in the crop got better. There wasn’t as much ponding, plant color improved and there was not as much disease pressure in the fields we sampled.
Similar to the last two days, we didn’t find much evidence of insects in the corn fields. The maturity of the crop is ahead of last year and, in most areas, ahead of average. All of the ears we looked we were dented. Overall the crop is good; but doesn’t appear to be as good as last year. Bottom line…too much rain!
The southwest Iowa bean crop looks pretty good aside from the ponding; the plants were green and healthy. The story changed as we moved north of Interstate 80 into west-central Iowa. We began see evidence of Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in many of the fields in varying degrees in 5 of the counties on our route. As we moved north the SDS subsided.
Aside from the wet areas we found very little in the way of disease in crops and they were virtually free of insects. The bean crop is more mature than last year and in some areas development is ahead of average. We did see good pod counts and with a good finish to the season the bean crop could be as good, or better, than last year. The big question for bean yields this year will be how many acres were drowned out or hurt by SDS.