We're finally in Owatonna, MN. And here's the best news from the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour -- all the scouts that started in Columbus, OH, and Sioux Falls, SD made it to Owatonna with no major setbacks or accidents. That's not to say there weren't a few disturbances along the way. Keys were lost in a weedy spot of a corn field only to have "Divine intervention" kick in, which led another scout right to the spot where they were on the ground. And then there was the break-away shoulder of a road that brought a wrecker out to gravel road to pull not one, but two Crop Tour cars out of the ditch. And there was an electrifying experince on Tour this year next to a bean field that for some reason was burning hot to give a non-farming scout an example of how we keep cattle in without four strands of barbed wired around the field. There's plenty of other interesting stories from this year's Crop Tour... and there will be plenty similar stories from the 2013 Tour... but you'll have to come along to witness them first hand.
And speaking of coming along on the Tour: The Crop Tour is something we do for the industry. We don't hide anything along the way, but it's obvious from some of the comments made about the Tour that there are still some market-observers out there that think we do. To those who have commented about how the Tour runs this week and have questioned our motives out here on the road, I have just two things to say to you. 1) Come on the 2013 Tour. 2) PLEASE.
I do want to comment on one of the commentaries about the Tour. Here's what a Pro Farmer Member was nice enough to alert us about: "Their Midday Grain Report from ........ said they will never know why the PF Tour didn't travel through some of the worst areas of crops in the Corn Belt since 1936, particularly southern Illinois."
When I make this next comment, I mean absolutely no disrespect to the farmers in southern Illinois. The Crop Tour has never run through southern Illinois. To start doing it this year because they've got a bad crop would throw a wrench into everything we've done over the last 20 years of touring the Midwest crops. We absolutely DO NOT get outside of the Tour area and start pulling yield samples just because this year is different than all the other years. That would absolutely screw up our ability to compare this year's data to previous years, which would make this year's data absolutely worthless. So... to answer this company's question (We'll never know..."): We didn't go south of the Tour area to sample really low corn yields because we absolutely must maintain the integrity of the Tour.
And here's a question for this company: Why haven't you complained or commented about not getting south of the Tour area in Illinois when they've had excellent yields in far down-state Illinois? Is it because you might be a little biased? Did you want us to come out on the road and deliver yield results that supported your market positions? If you did... tough. That's not what we do. If you question that, ask a crop scout that has the gumption to get out and see the crop for him or herself... and refer back to the two things above that I have to say to you.
And one more point about not getting into the Dust Bowl of southern Illinois. We have a pretty good idea of how many acres were planted down there, so why in the world would we spend our time on Tour traveling between fields that will yield zero to 50 bu. per acre? Isn't it more important to get into areas that do have a crop to try to figure out just how many bushels we'll have to work with in the 2012-13 marketing year?