While Pro Farmer editor Chip Flory says his personal bias is that the spread in corn yields between Iowa and Illinois will be greater than USDA’s projections, data are key to determining whether that’s accurate.
Enter the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, which kicks off Aug. 19 and runs through Aug. 22.
"I’m going to trust the numbers," Flory says. "That’s the bottom line. If my ideas going into tour are proven wrong, I’m more than willing to admit that I was wrong going into the tour and that the numbers have proven something different."
Click play to hear Flory talk about how markets react to Crop Tour and why farmers follow it:
The influence of the tour depends on the year, though it’s not unusual to see some strength in the markets going into the week of Crop Tour, he says. That can largely be attributed to the market expecting a bigger number than what USDA is projecting.
From year to year, there are surprises. For example, few expected anything out of the 2004 corn crop, yet scouts "went out and found a whopper," Flory says.
Perhaps the best tool Crop Tour provides is perspective.
"The tour does a really, really good job of finding the year-to-year trend in corn yields and how it might—might—be different than what USDA is showing in the August numbers," Flory says.