Day one on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had our route heading west out of Columbus, bouncing up and down north a couple times, angling northwest to Troy then straight north to Fort Laramie. We were in the counties of Madison (District 4), Champaign, Shelby Miami and Shelby (District 5). Our scouting crew today consisted of How Tuan Ong from Singapore, Alexandre Marie from France and Ian Bowler from Australia. Another first day out with a very diverse group of individuals. Luckily we managed to dodge the raindrops until our trip back to the hotel.
On the corn side we sampled a high of 206 bu./acre in Madison Co. with a low in Champaign Co. of 135 bu./acre. Our average corn yield today was 184 bu./acre. The most noticeable change from last year was the maturity of the crop. Most of the samples we pulled were nearing half milk line meaning physiological maturity is about two weeks away. Also noted was the abundant moisture in most fields. This bodes well for the crop to have adequate moisture to make maturity a reality. Looking at data sheets from other routes today that was the general consensus.
Were there any potential issues? There are always some if you want to find them. Gray leaf spot was present in nearly every field. Was it bad enough to be significant on our route? Probably not given that most of it was found below the ear and the advance maturity of the crop. Something we did note on one field was some potential stalk rot. Some lesions appearing to be anthracnose we evident on a plant brought back to the truck by Alexandre. Pinching the stalk it didn’t take much effort to make it kink even at the lower nodes. Might bear watching as we get closer to maturity especially should the wind decide to blow.
On the soybeans side, our 3’x3’ measurements were more variable, with a high of 1821 pods in Miami Co. and a low of 598 pods in Clark Co. Not surprisingly one of our better corn yields was on the field adjacent to it. Our average pod count on the day was 1279, very close our Ohio average of 1248 measured today.
How about any flies in the ointment on the Ohio soybean crop we saw? Again, there is always something that nickels and dimes the crop although this time it’s mostly nickels. Some SDS was making its presence known in patches, unlike the wholesale hammering fields in OH took in some of my earlier years on Crop Tour. It’s entirely possible the advanced maturity and adequate soil moisture may keep the symptoms limited. Frogeye was also present in most soybean fields where we took counts. In most of the fields it was present yet not more than a novelty. In others it made one take notice. It was more frogeye than I’ve seen on any Crop Tour to this point.
Insect pressure in both crops was negligible. A few Japanese beetles were noted perpetuating the species. Their chewing while noticeable was well below any kind of action threshold. And of course, after scouting soybean aphids for the last month in MN I was foolish enough to turn over some leaves. Sure enough I found some although again well below threshold.
On to finish the western side of Indiana and do the east side of Illinois mañana. Best of all we get to change our clocks back an hour!