Throughout the summer, our Crystal Decisions team has been hard at work conducting research on our test plots throughout our service area. Together with a motivated team of interns, we’ve been able to collect invaluable data that we’ll use to help our growers finish out the season and begin planning for next year.

We had the chance to catch up with Jason Leary, Ag Technology Manager, to gain some important insights that he and his team have recently noticed in the field.

1. Growth Degree Units
The chart below compares the Growing Degree Units in 2020 compared to the 30-year average and 2019. As of August 9th we had 1889 GDUS in Blue Earth county, 190 GDUs ahead of 2019 at the time and +74 over the 30 average.

2. Ear Counts
We have hand checked over 850 ears throughout different corn plots in the area.  As of today with all the ear counts combined together we have 16.5 kernels around by 36.4 kernels long as the running average.  With our current estimates, yields are coming in with a range of 200-250bu/acre and a 215bu/acre average.  Some fields and specific hybrids have shown higher kernel count in high management areas.  Test weight and kernel depth will still play a huge factor in the final yield.

3. Rootworm Pressure
Our team has seen a slightly higher rootworm pressure in long-term corn on corn fields. To monitor more closely, we’ve been out setting rootworm traps recently.

Together with Jason and his team, the summer interns have been a tremendous help to gather and analyze this season’s data. Let’s meet this summer’s Crystal Decisions interns!

Cole Eidem
“My name is Cole Eidem, I am going into my senior year at South Dakota State University and majoring in Precision Ag. This summer I have been entering data for the Field Forecasting Tool, soil sampling, tissue sampling, flying drones for aerial imagery and NDVI, and managing a replicated plot. The Precision Ag internship has taught me about what different software Crystal Valley uses and how it can benefit the farmers. Some of my most enjoyable experiences were flying drones and doing research on some of our trials.”

Jack Wilson
“My name is Jack Wilson and I am from Toulon, Illinois. In the fall, I will be a sophomore attending Iowa State University with a double major in Ag Systems Technology and Industrial Technology with an emphasis on Precision Ag. Over the summer, I have done a majority of different jobs ranging from soil sampling to flying drones for stand counts and NDVI to filling up crop dusters with chemical and fuel. I have thoroughly enjoyed flying drones for farmers and how drones can be used in real world applications. I have also learned a lot about agronomy over the summer ranging from growth stages, weed and insect identification, and chemical applications. This summer has been very educational and Crystal Valley was a great first internship.”

Tyler Strahl
“My name is Tyler Strahl and I am going into my senior year at South Dakota State University studying Precision Ag and Ag Systems Technology. I am originally from Yankton, South Dakota so it has been a learning experience working in the Minnesota agriculture industry. I have had the opportunity to intern with the Precision Ag team at Crystal Valley this summer. I have been working with the different ag software that we have been learning about in school and seeing how they can help growers increase their returns. Lately, I have enjoyed looking into the research plots, capturing aerial images and taking tissue samples to see which products have been performing better.”