Western Tour: Minnesota Crop Health Good, But Rains Needed

August 20, 2008 07:00 PM
Tanner Ehmke, AgWeb

(Redwood County, Minn.) – Despite issues of ongoing dryness, Minnesota's corn crop in the southwestern portion of the state looks to be much improved over last year, crop scouts on the western leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour say, while the soybean crop was less impressive.

Based on a survey sampling of six fields Thursday morning, one route through southwest Minnesota averaged a corn yield estimate of 181.3 bushels/acre, compared to last year's tour average of 159.2 bushels/acre for the same region. Field estimates ranged from 147.2 to 224.2 bushels/acre.

Jim Kimmel, tour participant and corn and soybean producer from Lawrence, Kan., says that the health of the corn crop is fabulous, but maturity could be an issue with so many fields still in the late milk to dough stage.

"The plant health has been pretty good on the corn,” Kimmel says. "But if it's going to reach its maximum kernel depth and test weight, it's going to have to have some more rain.”

However, Gary Wietgrefe, tour participant and certified crop advisor with Syngenta Seeds in Sioux Falls, S.D., says that on his northern-most route of the tour, dryness was less of an issue.

"The soils are really great. There's moisture if you dig down a couple inches, and it's not excessively wet,” he says.

Of the nine sampled fields on Wietgrefe's route into west-central Minnesota, one field was in the milk-to-dough stage while the rest were in dough stage. No fields were in dent stage, he says.

Soybean pod counts in a three-foot by three-foot square on Kimmel's route, meanwhile, averaged 736.3 pods, well below last year's average for the region at 1,144.2 pods. Samples ranged from 420 to 1,200 pods.

"I think the beans look pretty good,' Kimmel says.

Aphid pressure was generally low, but soils still were drier than desired.

"The story for the entire tour so far is how dry it is,” he says, adding that the soybean crop will need steady rains in the weeks ahead for a good finish.

Tonight, the western tour will meet in Austin, Minn., with the eastern tour where all tour data will be compiled and evaluated. The following morning, Pro Farmer analysts will release their estimate of the U.S. corn and soybean crops at 8:30 a.m. C.T.


You can e-mail Tanner Ehmke at tehmke@agweb.com.

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