Pests and diseases sometimes develop in patterns, and sometimes not. To get a sampling of what is happening in the Midwest, Michigan Farmer, Indiana Prairie Farmer and Ohio Farmer editors have teamed up and lured in, or more accurately roped in, a couple of observers in key parts of their states to report every two weeks on what's happening in their fields. Click on the map to see where each reporter is commenting from.
Reporting From Indiana
Bill Pickart: Rain has slowed and has been spotty here. We have had 1.5 inches at my location in August, but a few miles west they had that much in one rain. Crops still look very good and green. Beans are very tall this year! Grass has never stopped growing. We're now getting warmer weather and sunshine, which will keep maturity on schedule. Also, late-planted corn has compensated and appears to be catching up. So overall there are smiles on faces of farmers, especially if they took advantage of earlier selling opportunities. For many, however, it will be hard to beat last year's combined crop income with high prices and insurance payments.
Jim Facemire: We're in a band that typically gets less rain every summer. That's starting to happen again. We get 0.3 inches and 15 miles north they get an inch. Crops with soil with gravel at three feet are really showing stress unless the field is irrigated. Even on other soils it is getting very dry in places. We need another rain to finish corn, definitely another widespread rain for soybeans. This would be the fourth August in a row where we didn't get August rains during pod fill and it knocked off the top end of yield potential, unless something changes soon. Overall, we're still looking at decent crops except on non-irrigated soils under gravel, but it may not be the bin-buster it looked like it might be a month ago before it started drying up.
Reporting From Ohio
Luke VanTilburg: For the first time all year, our crops are under stress. We are finally getting some heat, but we are a ways behind on total GDD. At least it has come with dry weather. Sub soil moisture is still there, but we need a good 2 inches of rain to help maintain yields. None is in the forecast for the next week though.
I have scouted nearly every corn field we have. Yield ranges from 110-240 bushel per acre. The low range is from wind damage caused by a July 10 storm. That particular hybrid is suspect to green snap and was just a day away from tasseling. So it had the worst with about 45% damage. Other fields were not damaged at all. I am hoping we can still make 200, but this dry fill period is going to bring it down some.
The dry weather came at a terrible time for the beans. A lot of beans in our area are very tall, but that isn't what drives yields. I am afraid this dry weather is going to hinder pod fill and late pod development to hurt yields.
Overall, I am still very happy with prospects, but would be even happier with some rain.
Dan Corcoran: When are we going to get rain? I am sure most of Ohio is on the "yes, let it rain" side of that question or else "please let it dry a little" side. I can say I am on both sides - depending what rain gauge in what county.
I think the corn crop looks pretty solid across our fields. Early yield checks are varied from 135 to 190+. The early planted corn is not far from black layer. Rain now won't affect it much. It does look like we will start harvesting those fields close to the Farm Science Review time. Should be a good opportunity to test drying systems and hopefully work the bugs out of equipment. I know I think I can have everything ready for harvest, but until you actually run the machines in the field you are not sure.
The popcorn is going to present some challenges this year to harvest. Between the unusually tall crop, some wind events that left the crop twisted and the heavy infestation of early leaf disease, the potential to harvest a standing popcorn crop will be tested. But there is a good yield for popcorn, if the field conditions allow.
Soybeans are tough to gauge the yield. I know we can count rows and stands in corn and feel as though we have a good range for yield, not so for beans . This method produces all kinds of far-fetched results. I can only say that even though we have missed rains in Pike County, our bean crop still looks to be potentially as exciting as the corn crop. And with that said, there is still a lot that can happen to the soybean plant to reduce potential. August rains still make or break the bean yield. I think last year was a prime example of this saying. I know we were pleased with beans last year once August rains arrived.
Overall we are quietly optimistic in mid-August for a bountiful crop. Lets all be safe so we can do this farming thing for a while longer. Hope to see many farming friends at Farm Science Review, Sept. 17-19.
Reporting From Michigan
Janna Fritz: Our last rain event was just over a week ago. We have had approximately a half inch in about 2 and a half weeks. Sugar beets are wilting in the afternoons due to the now increasing temperatures. The heat has returned, and we definitely need it to help get these crops to maturity. Corn continues to look good. We are seeing more white mold in the soybeans lately. That was somewhat expected in light of the weather during flowering. Third cutting hay is mostly wrapped up around the area too.
Richard P. Dobbins: Everything looks good here. There is very low insect pressure in beans and corn. We could use some rain within the next week but overall things look good. Plenty of sunshine and temps in the 80's, which is great for the crops.
Related Field Watch Articles
Friday Field Walk: Midwest Farmers Find Little To Complain About - (Aug. 9)
Friday Field Walk: What A Change A Year Can Make - (July 28)
Friday Field Walk: Growers Happy With Crop Progress Thus Far - (July 112)
Friday Field Walk: Spraying Is In Full Swing - (June 28)
Friday Field Walk: Crops Are In; Let The Spraying Begin - (June 14)
Friday Field Walk: Conditions Are Spotty - (May 31)
Friday Field Walk: Corn Planting About Done; Beans Underway - (May 17)
Friday Field Walk: Preparing For Planting Dash - (May 3)
See Season Through Farmers' Eyes On Web