Final day of the 2019 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had us heading roughly 20 miles west then north of Iowa City. The crew today included driver David Allain in Columbus OH and Jirath Lertritrugsina in Bangkok Thailand. We had a split route so were operating with only three people. As it happens every year though, it never ceases to amaze me how everyone comes together and gets the job done. The day went by very quickly. We worked in a businesslike fashion and before we knew we’d pulled the last sample for the day. We were in Iowa and Benton Co.’s in crop district 6, Grundy and Tama Co.’s in district 5, Butler in district 2 and Chickasaw in district 3.
On our route today we saw more of the IA crop I was expecting to see. Since I live just north of the Hawkeye state it should bode well for our MN crop on the other side of the border. Our route average corn yield was 175 bu./acre with a high of 218 in Grundy Co. and a low of 128 bu./acre in Tama Co. The physoderma brown spot that was present on my routes in IN and IL was still there today. There was a little gray leaf spot but it was generally confined to the leaves below the ear. We had more dented samples again today and there was one in Grundy Co. where the milk line was just starting to show. The IA corn crop we sampled today isn’t a record setter nor is it a total failure. Considering the struggle it was to get this crop in the ground in many areas it’s amazing it looks as good as it does.
On the soybean side the crop surprised that it was as good as it was after seeing disappointing crop in OH, IN and parts of IL. On the route today in our 3’x3’ measurement, we averaged 1164 pods. The high was in Butler Co. (again) at 1764 and the low was in Iowa Co. with 741 pods. Soybean maturity was largely later R5 to early R6 in some cases. This should help folks breathe a little easier when talk of a frost enters the picture. Not much for leaf disease again on this route and the SDS that plagued much of the same area a decade ago was conspicuously absent. Soybean breeding programs have done an excellent job of selecting for tolerance and some of the seed treatments have helped immensely. Japanese beetles and their signature feeding damage were present in nearly every field sampled. However the damage inflicted was minor relative to what was noted on our route yesterday.
For the 16th year, I’d like to thank our sponsors for sponsoring this year’s Crop Tour and to Brian Grete for allowing me to serve as Tour Consultant for another edition. While it takes a little more out of me every year, I get mentally prepared for it. Crop Tour still exposes a person to Ag professionals from all over the world, some of whom I’ve developed friendships with that will last a lifetime. Can’t put a price tag on that.