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Running the gamut in Minnesota

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    Agriculture.com Marketing Talk senior contributor jennys_mn recently took a road trip around her area between the Twin Cities and the Iowa state line to discover widely ranging crop conditions. Here are a few of her snapshots.

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    Here's a soybean field not far from Randolph, Minnesota, one of the roughest ones in the area, she says. Though it's difficult to see from a ways off, once she got into the field, she saw the leaves were barely hanging on to the plants.

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    Normally, that's not a bad thing for this time of year. But, color is key. "Notice the leaves hanging on the plants, and the leaves going from green to brown, no yellowing," jennys_mn says. "The plants died."

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    Here are a couple of pods she pulled out of that field. Based on the samples she took, she estimates the field will raise around 20 bushels per acre.

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    Here's what she saw when she cracked open the pods. "These beans will have little oil content. One advantage of these, though, is you don't have to worry about falling when you step on these on concrete! They don't roll," she adds.

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    Here's a little different perspective. That's 2 pennies stacked up to the left of the beans. "Every field I look at -- even irrigated ones -- have at least some spots in them that look like these beans," jennys_mn says. "These beans are being grown on land that would usually produce 60+ bushels/acre."

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    Here's a corn field near Kenyon, Minnesota, taken this week. "This field looked really nice. Dark green, tall, even," jennys_mn says.

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    Though it looked good from the road, a closer inspection uncovered more variable results. "Lots of variation," jennys_mn says.

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    Pollination was the obvious issue, she adds. These ears paint that picture. "Some nice looking cobs, some with obvious pollination issues that weren't so hot."

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    Here's another view of a cob from that field. "Kernel depth is another issue as you see. I don't see the corn fields I was in going over 150 [bushels/acre]," jennys_mn says. "And that's not going to make up for the stuff that died across the state."

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    "Showing the milk line -- now about 20%," she adds. "The corn I saw today, in one of I think the best ground areas of the state, has problems. And, more to come."

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    Pollination issues like the one shown in this field won't get much benefit from a a forecast for jennys_mn's area that shows growing-degree days will continue to lag behind normal, she says.

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    "A field of beans that's, well, normal," jennys_mn says of this field in the same area that's still got much more yield potential than other area fields. "Even with a frost now would make a nice yield," she says. "Probably one of the few 60's that I spoke about before around here."

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    Overall, though conditions are widely variable right now, it doesn't quite add up to a bumper crop in jennys_mn's area. "I know there are good areas. Just that most of where I've been traveling this summer wasn't.  And from what I'm still seeing and hearing, the good is not going to make up for the bad and the ugly," she says.

Some corn & soybean fields show promise, while others are hurting south of the Twin Cities.

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