The eastern leg of the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour began in Iowa City, Iowa, and the western leg of the Tour began in Spencer, Iowa. Both legs of the Tour travel to Owatonna, Minnesota where final results for Minnesota and Iowa will be released on www.profarmer.com. Following are preliminary route reports from Tour leaders.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory has sampled in the Minnesota counties of Jackson and Cottonwood (District 7), and Brown and Nicollet (District 8). He reports a wide range of yield variation from 100 bu. per acre to 218 bu. per acre -- in the same county. The average of his seven samples this morning is 154 bu. per acre. "There is simply a wide range of yield potential out here this morning," he says.
But even more troubling, says Chip are soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square. His morning route resulted in the following samples: 1,108, 756, 672, 378, 372, 392 and 832. "That's too low for Minnesota and I think we've identified the problem. The plants have pods on them but we don't have enough plants. Minnesota has always had a hard time building a yield because of the number of plants. Beans can compensate for a low population by branching out, but for some reason, that's hasn't happened this year," he says.
Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck has pulled samples in the Minnesota counties of Jackson (District 7), Watonwan, Brown, Blue Earth and Waseca (District 8). He reports corn yield samples ranging 83.2 bu. to 208.6 bu. per acre, with an average near 140 bu. per acre. "The corn crop has been more consistent in terms of health, but kernel depth has been shallow. That, combined with the lower ear counts are the reason for the lower-than-hoped for yield samples in some fields. I've also seen more corn firming from the bottom," he says.
Bean pod counts in a 3'X3' square range from 662 to 1,670, with an average of 905. "It's interesting to note that each cluster has an aborted pod, and we're seeing it more as we travel east. I'm also noticing that field maturity is more advanced, which means these quarter inch pods may not fully plump up," he says.
Eastern Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst Brian Grete has sampled in the Iowa counties of Benton, Linn and Iowa (District 6), Black Hawk and Bremer (District 3), Floyd, Mitchell and Cerro Gordo (District 2). He reports a range of corn yield samples from 27.9 bu. to 202.6 bu. per acre, and an average from his morning route of 111.2 bu. per acre. "I was disappointed with yield samples until we got to District 2 (North-Central Iowa)," says Brian. " Districts 6 and 3 didn't live up to expectations, but we had hoped we would see something better than that in eastern Iowa. Plant health was poor in Districts 6 and 3."
Soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square have ranged 365.6 to 1,605.2, with an average of 953 on his route this morning. "We saw some decent beans in even the droughty areas of Districts 6 and 3, but they aren't setting enough pods on the bottom part of the plants. Some of them didn't even branch on the bottom part of the plant. Beans are done blooming, so there won't be any more pods set, but rains would help pump up bean size," says Brian.
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard has sampled in the Iowa counties of Linn (District 6), Buchanan, Fayette, Winneshiek and Howard (District 3) and Mitchell (District 2). He reports corn yield samples have ranged from 1.8 bu. to 228 bu. per acre, for an average of 162 bu. per acre. He says, "the samples show it -- yields are more variable in this area than I had hoped."
Soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square have ranged from 345 to 1,360 for an average of 1,100. "We ran into some of these areas that are extremely dry and pod counts declined rapidly" he says. "Interestingly, the bad corn and soybean pod counts came from the same area. It's the story of haves and have not's because of the scattered rainfall."
For More Information
See full coverage of the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.
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