From the Rows | Day 4 — Jeff Wilson

Posted on 08/23/2018 5:26 PM

Day 4 of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour finished Thursday afternoon with both the east and the west tours converging on Rochester, MN.


Western Tour on Day 4 in Minnesota.

From Spencer, IA to Rochester the corn and soybeans were variable with a range of 150 bushels from high to low on corn samples and a 700-pod range for soybeans. The crop is struggling in the southwestern region of the state, but the damage is much more severe as you move into the central part of Minnesota. The are many fields where farmers went the prevent-plant insurance route this year because of excessive rains in May and June.


Planting dates make a big difference in Minnesota. If the crops got in early, they look good. The top end has been taken off in some fields while others will be very good. Most of the difference between bottom and top on early planted corn and soybeans rests with follow up rains in June and the amounts, frequency and intensity that the  fell early in the season.


One Illinois-based scout noted in central Minnesota that for the first time in his more than 10 years  on the tour he measured a bigger yield of corn than the pod count in the neighboring soybean fields.


There is some immature corn across the state. It should not be a major concern with some heat in the forecasts.


Soybeans might need one rain to fill the pods with plumber beans. The bean pod counts on my route were a little disappointing. Plants are generally shorter than normal with fewer four-bean pods and more one- and two-bean pods showing up.



Day 4 final observations:
I’m the new guy on this part of the tour and I can’t that all the scouts that came along and helped me through. I’ve been going on this tour for 20 years, mostly going on the East with Brian as a reporter. Without the insights from growers on this tour to educate me on the ways of the western corn and soybean growing differences it would have been a difficult week. Also big THANKS to both Chip Flory, my mentor this week and Emily Carolan, the PF Tour data specialist and agronomy consultant.


The crops in South Dakota’s southeast districts were consistently good. But you don’t have to go very far north or west from the areas we scouted to find the ill-effects of hot, dry weather. That will weigh on the states final yields.

Nebraska was consistently good for both beans and corn and may well reach the records projected by USDA earlier this month.

Western Iowa was surprising as it appears the soybeans in the southern district enjoy enough stress and timely rains to produce 27% more pods than a year earlier. Central-west looks good to great. Northern areas are highly variable and large empty potholes across those counties may end up dragging down yields in a very important Iowa district.

It’s been fun, education and mostly a joy to meet and get to know a whole new group on the western tour. I encourage anyone interested in joining PFTOUR19 to reach out to me at
Most importantly, I would like to hear from our Pro Farmer members more regularly. Let’s exchange information, ideas and market insights.  CIAO

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