Pro Farmer has sent an army of ag experts out into the fields of Middle America for a firsthand look at how crops are doing. The annual Pro Farmer CropTour provides valuable insight into the condition of Midwestern crops and can put the summer's drought into perspective. With corn and soybean prices high in this drought year, tangible results are vital to growers who are already thinking ahead to next year's crop.
Data will be gathered from between the rows in corn and soybean fields along routes that have been mapped and followed every year for the last 20 years. Some fields are in good shape, but others have already been plowed under and are a total loss for the year. Samples will be gathered from fields in Ohio, Nebraska, South Dakota and four other states in the Midwestern cornbelt.
Fertilizer markets have enjoyed gains, piggybacking on extraordinary grain prices through the summer of this year. Natural Gas prices have wilted as domestic supply strengthens, forcing the price of Anhydrous and Nitrates down. As growers look to cut input costs and yields are in question, real world data can make the difference between a good 2013 and a great 2013.
In times of trouble, like this year's drought, knowledge is power. Equipped with accurate counts from representative fields across the Midwest, growers from the region can start to lay plans for next year's crop and can begin to sort out what the arid heat of 2012 might have done to their soil nutrient levels.