From the Rows- Day 4 Emily Carolan
The week is over and we have made it to Rochester, MN after a day full of scouting throughout Minnesota. We have several scouts that actually farm in Minnesota and they had given us a little preview of what we were going to find. The numbers are in and we were able to get a really nice look at the potential in Minnesota.
We knew we were going to find spots where the rainfall this spring prevented many growers to stay out of the field in the normal planting window but even where we found a decent yield check, the stresses that affected this crop gives it more of a chance of falling backwards than getting bigger at this point- a lot of the same story as we found in western Iowa.
When we were in South Dakota, Nebraska, and the majority of western Iowa, we were measuring yield, not potential. When we went through Minnesota, we were measuring potential. The crop was immature and the main difference between last year and this year. Last year there was upward potential on the crop it was just really behind. Even though we are ahead on GDUs through the majority of Minnesota, the crop was put into the ground 2-3 weeks late and has been stressed by more than just an above average rainfall total. The crop has ran out of nitrogen, is shallow rooted, and is showing signs of stalk integrity issues that could be an issue this harvest time.
While we are in the fields, we observe more than just what we are using for our yield checks. One of those main observations is kernel depth. Throughout the first three days of Crop Tour, we saw average to above average kernel depth. If we finish the crop strong, those yields where stress is limited will hold together and have a positive opportunity for good test weights. When we hit Minnesota, the main thing we saw was the lack of kernel depth but a more mature crop than we saw last year. If you think about it, we were planting two weeks later than last year and we are three weeks ahead on GDU totals. This crop has been rushed and with extremely wet feet and shallow roots, it seems the groceries have maybe ran out.
One comment I would make about the whole tour is we normally find storm damages throughout our routes. This year was different. The storms were widespread and frequently causing a lot of green snap and hail damage. We always see damage in Nebraska, but to see the damages in Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota, it will take a toll on yield in those states. It might not be much, but has to be factored in to figuring out what the final yield will be.
As we wrap up the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour this year, I can’t thank the scouts and everyone involved enough for all the work that is done. The scouts out here become a family and make lifelong friendships you can’t find anywhere else. The scouts are so dedicated to making this successful. The main reason we do this tour is the people. We were missing a few scouts this year due to family losses and it absolutely amazes me the support and prayers that are sent the way of the families involved.
We also lost a scout who was on the tour for years on our last day of tour. Steve Fellure always came on tour with amazing dedication and such a positive attitude. We honor him by continuing what he loved to do- scout fields and talk about farming and family 24/7.
This has been a year for the record books in multiple ways! I appreciate the opportunity to participate on this tour every single year! I look forward to joining everyone again next year for #PFTour19!