Western Tour: Day three observations from Brian Grete

August 19, 2008 07:00 PM

From the Rows

Day 3 observations: My group's Wednesday Tour travels took us from far southern Iowa up Highway 59 through districts 7, 4 and 1. At the end of the day, we took 20 samples in 11 counties. Our lowest yield of the day came from our first sample in Fremont County, while our best sample came from Mills County, roughly 36 miles north of our lowest sample. In all, the corn samples on our route averaged 178 bu. per acre - 181 in district 7; 170.1 in district 4 and 181.8 bu. per acre in district 1.

On our route, we saw very little plant or bug problems with the corn crop.

For soybeans on our route, pod counts in a 3X3 square ranged from 491.8 to 1528.56. In all, district 7 had an average pod count of 1034.9, district 4 had a pod count of 1332.9 and district 1 had a pod count of 1277.3. In district 7 and far southern district 4, we experienced aphids and bean leaf beetles. After moving north of Shelby County, we experienced very few insect problems.

I continue to hear from scouts one common theme from this year's Tour - weather and time. The crop needs good weather, specifically rain (soon) and time for this year's crop to finish. Without rainfall or with an early (or normal) frost date, this year's crop will struggle to obtain the potential we've seen out there so far.

General Day 3 Tour musings

* I sampled the most densely populated cornfield I've ever seen in Mills County. Literally, I don't think the grass in my lawn is as thick as this corn stand. There's no doubt this farmer's seed rep is happy. Despite the extreme plant population, we had 8 of our 20 samples with a higher ear population than this particular field. Needless to say, there were many blank stalks. You can get plant pops too high.

* Tour scouts learn fast. The scout from New Jersey who ordered salmon for lunch on Monday, ate a tenderloin for lunch Wednesday - his first ever tenderloin. When in the Midwest, do as the Midwesterners do.

* School buses and Crop Tour don't mix. Getting caught behind a school bus in the rolling hills of western Iowa when you are scrambling to get samples is frustrating. What ever happened to the good ol' days when school started after Labor Day?

Day 4 of the Tour takes scouts on routes through southern and central Minnesota before the final meeting in Austin, Minnesota. That's where scouts from the western leg of Tour will meet up with scouts from the eastern leg for the final meeting.

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