FIRST Newsletter | October 2021
08-Oct-2021 | Issue 16 |
Georgetown, MN 2021 Soybean plot
Above - Warren, MN soybean plots just before harvest on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo courtesy of Luke Brendemuhl.
Dahle - Starbuck MN corn drought damage 2021
Drought damaged corn plot at Starbuck, MN Sept. 9, 2021. Photo courtesy of Ed Dahle.
NEW! Weather Summary included in 2021 Top 30 Harvest Reports
In the August 2020 Newsletterwe asked for your feedback about what would add value to FIRST yield trial reports each season. The overwhelming majority (69% of respondents) answered that they want the plots' local weather profile added.   

FIRST is pleased to include location weather in 2021 FIRST Top 30 Harvest Reports. Rainfall and GDU totals for each month and the season are summarized at the top of the weather page. A convenient weather graphic displays rainfall events and accumulation, GDUs, and temperatures compared to normals for the entire season from planting to harvest. For corn grain, estimated mid-pollination and maturity dates are indicated using the relative maturities in the test and accumulated GDUs.  Read more...
Eric Snodgrass, Atmospheric Scientist visits with FIRST to talk weather
Eric Snodgrass on video-conference
We had an opportunity to speak with Eric Snodgrass, Principal Atmospheric Scientist at Nutrien Ag Solutions recently. Snodgrass has a large audience for his twice a week Ag Weather Forecasts, including FIRST managers who must scout broad areas for their field operations. 

One reason producers crave weather information so much is that, “you have this independent third party in your operation the atmosphere and you need to know how it will behave,” Snodgrass explained. His forecasting and appearances are also followed to watch how weather will move markets, and who may be having problems specifically, “whether it’s Nebraska or Central Ukraine.”

Snodgrass described the transformative changes happening in forecasting. More and more sensors are on the ground, like expanded weather station networks in Brazil. Satellite data has better resolution and more wavebands to use as input into models. Tremendous computational loads for weather modeling are handled on supercomputers, including processes he explained use both the observed weather data and additional “perturbations”, noise added to the simulations, to understand how strong and certain the weather patterns are.

The broader subject of climate can be contentious, but Snodgrass had insightful ways to look at observed trends. For example, for the Illinois and Iowa region he said that, in general, maximum temperatures have a flat trend. However, average nighttime lows are 2-3 ℉ higher than in the past, making for a longer growing season and earlier planting windows. In the same area, around 5 inches more precipitation falls during the growing season than prior to 1980, but with 2-3 times higher frequency of 2 in. amounts. “It’s raining more but in bigger events,” he noted, with added potential for erosion or saturation issues. Snodgrass pointed toward water management improvements, like controlled drainage, as climate-smart practices.

The dataset FIRST is using to present weather information this season, PRISM, is one Snodgrass uses in his reporting as well. It’s based on surface observations from a large network of sensors, overlaid with RADAR for precipitation, and it is excellent for observed weather. We thank him for spending time with us, and you can find more of Snodgrass’s agriculture-focused weather expertise at
FIRST historical data for harvest dates from 2008-2021
FIRST's 25th Anniversary
This is FIRST's 25th year of organizing corn and soybean seed trials. To celebrate, we have been looking back at reporting over the years. This month, we'll review the harvest dates through FIRST history 2008-2021. Similar to the planting date graphics for corn and soybeans in our May Newsletter, these graphics show how harvest progress looked in the last 14 years, including 2021 so far.

Click on the graphs below to go to interactive versions, where you can run the animation, stop on a year of interest, and zoom in on locations near you. This season is looking like a fairly early year, though we don't know what the next few weeks have in store. Watch for new results as FIRST Field Managers gather data from the thousands of replicated trial plots throughout the program.
(Below) Corn Grain - Harvest dates for the 2008-2021 season. Click to go to the interactive graph.
(Below) Soybeans - Harvest dates for the 2008-2021 season. Click to go to the interactive graph.
Find the RESULTS you need in FIRST's reports and email notifications
"FIRST has the best unbiased corn yield results!"
— Stan Prenger, producer in Anna, Ohio
Unbiased, Accurate Yield Testing. Every Time.

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