We are here! We officially made it to Grand Island, Nebraska and completed day 1 of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour 2018. Although the weather was a bit different than we normally see in the middle of August in South Dakota and Nebraska, the rains were welcomed in many areas, as long as it wasn’t in an area of Nebraska that has been constantly hit with storm after storm.
I’m thrilled to be on the tour again this year after scouting fields in western Wisconsin all summer where we are currently experiencing a dry spell and above average disease pressure. In western Wisconsin I am a Territory Manager with Pioneer Seed where I get to work with sales representatives and growers every day to help grow their operations.
Alright- onto the first day of tour results & scouting reports!
While driving through the southeast corner of South Dakota, it was very evident that they have received more than usual rainfall totals. Sioux Falls, SD is having the third wettest summer on record and we were welcomed to town with another two inches on Sunday night. Prevent plant acres were more wide-spread than normal and as we rolled into northeast Nebraska, the storm damage became more apparent. Multiple hail storms have made a mark on the map this year for some of the longest stretches we’ve seen on the tour.
Outside of the storm damage, the crop looked fantastic in spots. The weather has been more than ideal and lawns are still green in most areas. Nick Ehlers, farmer from Tipton, IA, noted the lack of disease in the corn fields and the clean soybean fields. Where waterhemp has ruled the soybean fields in the past in this area, it seems like control was accomplished this year in many areas.
Tim Gregerson, farmer from Herman, Nebraska was on a route on the western side of where we scout and noticed the really good corn in the western South Dakota corn belt. He mentioned that it is one of the best looking crops he has scouted on the tour in years past. Beans were a different story and had a more average story to tell. Nebraska last year was a record low for disease pressure in soybeans but this year we were finding some but still nothing that was going to be too yield impacting. The two things that are going to cover-up the storm damaged parts of the state are the increased ear count and better top end dryland yields.
Sherman Newlin, farmer from Huntsonville, IL, traveled the eastern side of the route we covered on Monday and the variability became more apparent than what was found in the west. The nitrogen loss was the most drastic stress that they saw and a few samples were in the 130 bushels to 150 bushels where we would normally see closer to 180 bushels in this scouted areas. The drowned out areas were larger on this side of the state where water overcame the potential of this crop. Soybeans in South Dakota were extremely variable and farther behind than normal due to the delayed spring they experienced. Nebraska beans came around better than South Dakota with limited weed pressure and fewer drowned out areas.
There were two things that were apparent as we made our way south from Sioux Falls, SD- the storm damage was spread wide and took out multiple fields at a time but it looks like the yield from the dryland areas and increased ear count is going to make up for the loss in yield from those areas. The yields were good but issues were still found making it a difficult yield to evaluate in South Dakota and Nebraska. BUT the good news- we pulled a large amount of samples on the first day, making it the best estimator of what the potential looks like!
Tomorrow we make our way through the central and southeast part of Nebraska and will park the trucks in Nebraska City where we will release the final numbers for the districts covered in Nebraska and the numbers from Indiana. We look forward to another great day with cooler temperatures in the forecast.