Time for the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

Published on: 15:59PM Aug 08, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

August 8, 2014

Scouts on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour will be on the road Aug. 18-21. The 2014 Tour, sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, has a record number of scouts registered and ready for the four-day trek that covers 7 states and about 70% of the U.S. corn and soybean crops.

Talk with your Pioneer dealer about coming to one of these evening meetings.

Western Leg:
August 18: Grand Island, Nebraska
August 19: Nebraska City, Nebraska
August 20: Spencer, Iowa
August 21: Rochester, Minnesota

Eastern Leg:
August 18: Fishers, Indiana
August 19: Bloomington, Illinois
August 20: Iowa City, Iowa
August 21: Rochester, Minnesota

Last year's Crop Tour collected 1,340 corn samples and nearly that many soybean samples as eastern scouts made their way west from Ohio and western scouts covered the roads in S. Dakota, Nebraska, western Iowa and southern Minnesota. The goal of each stop on Tour is to collect a "good sample" and we do that by keeping the Tour consistently random.

It's consistent because we follow the same routes year to year, but it's random because we don't pre-select plot locations and leave field and plot selection up to individual scouting teams.

It's consistent because we pull the 5th, 8th, and 11th ear from one of two 30-foot corn plots, but that also keeps the process random because those three ears might be the best three ears in the field... they could be the worst three ears in the field... or they could be three very representative ears in the field. Which brings up an important point. The goal is not to "peg" the yield in each and every field. For one thing, to accurately estimate the yield in an individual field, we'd have to pull at least 10 samples from every 40 acres. The goal is to collect enough samples from a county to get a good idea of a county's potential; enough samples from a crop district to get a good idea of a crop district's potential; enough sample from a state to get a good idea of a state's yield potential.

And the ultimate goal of the tour is to consistently collect enough random samples from seven very important corn producing states to get a good idea of the county's yield potential. The single most important yield average we look at in the entire week is the final "all samples" average yield. The Tour is designed to be "self weighting." We spend a half day of sampling in South Dakota and Ohio to limit the number of samples from these states. The Tour consistently pulls the highest number of samples from Iowa, which is closely followed by the sample counts from Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota. The Indiana sample count comes next. Because of this, we can throw all the samples into one spreadsheet and generate one average of all 1,300-plus corn yields... and that is the best "tell" of U.S. corn yield potential. Keep that in mind as you hear or read reports and Tweets from Tour. Those reports and Tweets might be completely accurate for one route, but it may not be representative of what scouts on all 12 of the eastern routes and all 10 of the western routes are seeing that day.

We're looking forward to another week of making new friends, spending time talking with growers from across the Midwest and collecting some important information for the ag industry.

Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory

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