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Big Questions to be Answered during Crop Tour

August 16, 2011
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
history
The 2011 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour will determine if yields in the Western Belt can make up for losses in the Eastern Belt.  

The 18th Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, which kicks off on Sunday, Aug. 21 and concludes Thursday, Aug. 25, is set to be the talk of farm country.

With USDA recently lowering the estimated U.S. corn yield and dropping the expected average soybean yield from last year, this year’s Tour will be ever more important, as it provides from-the-field data.
 
“This is not a windshield tour; we are actually in the field taking samples,” says Chip Flory, Pro Farmer Editor. “We’re the first guys that are going to be pulling back husks on this crop and delivering information on what we find when we pull back those husks. There are a lot of yield variables that we’ll be taking a look at.”
 
Listen in as Flory details this year's Tour:

 
The big news this year, Flory says, will focus on potential yields on both state and national levels. “I think the question that we’re trying to answer out there on the road is: Are there enough bushels out of the Western Belt to help make up for the bushels we’ve lost out of the Eastern Belt?”
 
In the West, Crop Tour scouts will begin in Sioux Falls, S.D., and sample fields along a route that travels through Grand Island, Neb.; Nebraska City, Neb.; Spencer, Iowa and convenes in Austin, Minn.
 
In the East, scouts will meet in Columbus, Ohio, then journey through Fishers, Ind.; Bloomington, Ill.; Iowa City, Iowa and meet up with the other scouts in Austin, Minn.
 
Flory says groups of around four scouts will travel 8 different routes in the West and 12 routes in the East. Each carload takes around 15 samples of corn and soybeans, every 15 to 20 miles, each day.
 
“We keep in random by mixing up the drivers and riders every day,” he says. “We run the same routes every year, but we do not stop at the same fields every year.”
 
The goal of the Tour is not to peg the yield in each individual field, but to compile all samples from the seven states sampled.
 
“We’re looking to do is to pull as many samples as we possibly can from one big corn field and one big soybean field that stretches from Columbus, Ohio over to Grand Island, Neb. and from Redwood Falls, Minn. down to Carlinville, Ill.”
 
On Friday, Pro Farmer will release its national-average yield and production estimates for both corn and soybeans. To follow coverage of the event, visit www.AgWeb.com and www.ProFarmer.com.
 
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