August 23rd, 2012
This morning we find ourselves on I-80 west, leaving Iowa City and heading to Owatonna, Minnesota. The “shortest distance between two points” way of thinking is thrown out the window this week as we will be zig zagging all over the Hawkeye State. In the few counties that we saw in Iowa yesterday there were some spots of struggling corn fields, but for the most part numbers were above what we experienced so far in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. By the way, Ohio is still the state with the biggest decline in expected yields this year compared to last year with a 29% lower estimate than 2011′s final results.
Our first stop will be just west of Cedar Rapids in Iowa County. Iowa’s variability will be seen by tour scouts today and according to DuPont Pioneer Research Manager for the state, Scott Nelson, that is the status quo.
8:30am – As we hit a gravel road searching for a field that we could get into without hurdling a barbed-wire fence, we ran across some hail damaged corn. That was also the case with the field that we finally did get into a few miles down. The ears were much smaller than anything we picked yesterday in Iowa and the yield estimate was lower as well. The field these 3 ears came from is guessed to bring in 56 bushels to the acre. Not a great start for Day 4.
The soybeans were a completely different story with a 3 x 3 area pod count of over 1300. Very surprising as you would have to imagine this field received some hail as well.
9:20am – We have made our way into Linn County, IA and the corn crop continues to diminish. This is not only attributed to the drought but also to some hail damage. the field we sampled in this county will yield 27 bushel.
Beans have been the surprise of the day thus far. The Linn County field had a pod count in a 3 by 3 feet area of over 1000. Although that isn’t great, it is well above averages gathered yesterday in eastern Iowa.
10:34am – Our bean track record this morning has quickly come to an end with this field. I hope the tape measure shows just how short these beans are. If this were an ideal growing season these look like they would only be about 45 days along. The pod count shows just how poor they are at 359 pods in a 3 by 3 area.
The corn field right across the road has had it tough this year too. Our estimates show a yield of 80.
Our scout leader, Brian Grete from Pro Farmer, is from Black Hawk County, IA and he and I talked about what we have seen thus far on Day 4.
12:23pm – Cell service has been non existent for a while now as we truck along in God’s Country. Here it is after Noon and we have finally hit a decent Iowa corn field. Our sample in Floyd County, IA is pegged to yield 202 bushel to the acre. It was a nice field of corn, but the ears weren’t nearly filled and if they were, it would have easily added another 40 to 50 bushel. This drought will take its toll in this state to say the least.
As for soybeans, it has been a role reversal as the same field in Floyd County has a measly 365 pod count for a 3 square feet plot. Of the 7 samples we have taken, all but 1 had 30 inch row spacing and the average thus far is close to 1000.
2:19pm – From what I have been told all week, Northern Iowa was going to be the garden spot of the state. We are now in Cerro Gordo County, just one county away from the Minnesota border and we have just encountered what all of the scouts feared they would. Take a look at this picture and tell me what is missing. I’ll give you a hint…there were more eyes than ears in this field. This field is a zero.
3:00pm – A TV crew from Minneapolis searched us out and found us as we made our way to Minnesota. As you can imagine, there is a lot of interest not only from farmers, but from consumers as well about what is happening with America’s corn and soybean crops. I had to laugh at the thrill that walking through a corn field was for this metro reporter. You would have thought he had just rode a roller coaster.
3:30pm – We are wrapping up for the day and after over 60 fields in 4 days, I am one beat up farm broadcaster. Once we get to Owatonna, Minnesota we will get cleaned up and get ready for quite a gathering later tonight. That is where we will find out the final results for Iowa.
137.27 bushel per acre for corn
999.80 pods per 3 x 3 plot for soybeans