How Will Pro Farmer Crop Tour Account For Immature Crops, Bare Fields?

02:00PM Aug 16, 2019
Pro Farmer Crop Tour
Scouts on the 2019 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour could encounter extremely immature crops and a large number of prevent plant fields. Just how will the crop tour account for that? The tour leads explain.
( Farm Journal )

Scars of 2019 are sprinkled across northern Illinois.

“You don't have to go far to see bad crops,” said Dan Mitchell, flying over LaSalle Count, Illinois.  

Proof the planting pain wasn’t short-lived is prevalent in field after field.

“You can see square spots where the tractor almost got stuck trying to plant that field,” said Mitchell while flying over. “They picked up the planter, drug it through the mud and put it back down. That’s very common around here.

For Mitchell, it’s apparent a large crop just isn’t there this year.  

“When you see these barren fields through some of the best land in the state of Illinois, and it was either mudded in or left unplanted, it’s unsettling,” said Mitchell. “It’s definitely not a bumper crop.”

From a 2,000 foot aerial view, seeing the wide swaths of barren ground is giving Mitchell a better snapshot than just driving by fields.

“I'm looking at it from the air and when you drive down the roads, it doesn't look as bad as it is, but you look at it from the air and you see the water damage and the prevent plant fields,” said Mitchell. “It's unbelievable there's 90 million acres of corn planted in my eyes.”

The issues are wide spread. DeKalb County, Illinois farmer Tracy Jones saw an imperfect crop fro the start.

“We had small spots of drowned out corn, but we didn't have large washed out spots,” said Jones. “The small spots created a lot of moisture damage.”

It was a year of firsts, with Jones forced to plant corn in June for the first time in his career. He planted 600 acres in early June, some soybeans and then had to leave some fields unplanted, which he said was another first.

Jones said about 20 percent of his acres are prevent plant, which is a common occurrence in his county.

“It's a moving target,” said Jones. “I'm actually more concerned probably about my bean yields. My beans are really short.”

From bare dirt to immature crops, scouts on the 2019 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour have their work cut out.

 “Anytime we have immature crops on crop tour, it makes it more difficult,” said Eastern Leg Pro Farmer Crop Tour Lead Brian Grete.

The tour will measure more potential, than actual yield. Even with the immature crops, Grete says the tour will use the same methodology it uses in every field, every year. With 1400 samples of corn and 1400 samples of soybeans by the end of the week, the tour will have a good idea of the crop’s potential, even though Western Leg Pro Farmer Crop Tour Lead Jeff Wilson knows it won’t be easy.

“If it's a field that doesn’t have bean pods on it, you're going to have to say, well, there's no pods on it, and that becomes a zero,” said Wilson.

With a record number of prevent plant on some routes, Grete says the tour’s methodolty won’t change for that either.

 “If we see a field that’s prevent plant, and it’s not planted, we won’t measure it because there is no sample to take from those acres,” said Grete.

From traders to analysts to farmers, the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is gearing up for take off Monday, a tour that could reveal whether a large crop is there or not