As most everybody knows, I spent most of last week on the Midwest Crop Tour. The weather this year was much better than last year, when we got rained on for one full day of the Tour. I do not remember getting even one sprinkle this year. My thoughts are as follows:
- Last year, I remember having multiple stops where the corn yield was over 200 bu. Also, I remember that at least 70% or more of the corn yields were 170 or higher. This year, each day, we would have only one or two fields over 200 and perhaps three other fields in the 170 range. All of the other fields were less than 150 each day. However, last year, our lowest yields were substantially lower than this year. We never had a yield under 100 bu. this year, and last year I remember having several under 100, primarily in South Dakota and north central Nebraska. This year, we did not cover any of that area.
- The soybeans on average looked very good this year; however, the heat and lack of rain may be getting to them. If the beans get a couple of inches of rain in the next couple of weeks, they should yield fairly well.
- At all four of the evening stops, the farmers in attendance were not as bullish about their yields as last year. At the same time last year, all of the crops looked very good; however, the finish to the crop was poor. This year, most farmers expect a poor finish but hope for better.
- There were more people on this year's Tour, and more of them were not farmers. It appears that the Tour is one of the best guides for industry groups such as traders, hedge funds, farm media groups, etc., to get a good handle on where the crop is headed.
- Pro Farmer does an excellent job of putting on the Tour. From Chip Flory and Brian Grete leading each leg to the staff involved in making each day and night run smoothly, I just want to reinforce how good of a job they do.
All in all, this year's Midwest Crop Tour shows a lower crop than last year or the three-year trend, and I look forward to next year to see how it turns out.