Welcome to the 2023 Pro Farmer Crop Tour, a one-of-a-kind event that brings together farmers from across the Midwest and leaders throughout agriculture. This marks the 31st year that Crop Tour will provide the industry with accurate late-season growing information about likely corn and soybean yields.
MEDIA CAN ATTEND NIGHTLY MEETINGS
Members of the media are invited to attend Pro Farmer Crop Tour nightly meetings, which are scheduled in locations throughout the tour route. These meetings are attended by local farmers and include scouting reports and yield estimates for that day. Please REGISTER with discount code 23MEDIA for a complimentary ticket.
August 21 – Noblesville, IN
Embassy Suites Noblesville Indianapolis Conference Center
13700 Conference Center Drive South
Noblesville, IN 46060
*note all times above are CST. This location takes place 1 hour later.
August 22 – Bloomington, IL
DoubleTree by Hilton
10 Brickyard Drive
Bloomington, IL 61701
August 23 – Iowa City, IA
Hyatt Regency Coralville
300 East 9th Street
Coralville, IA 52241
August 24 – Rochester, MN
Mayo Civic Center
30 Civic Center Drive SE
Rochester, MN 55902
August 21 – Grand Island, NE
August 22 – Nebraska City, NE
Lied Lodge and Conference Center
2700 Sylvan Road
Nebraska City, NE 68410
August 23– Spencer, IA
Clay County Fair and Events Center
800 West 18th Street
Spencer, IA 51301
August 24 – Rochester, MN
Mayo Civic Center
30 Civic Center Drive SE
Rochester, MN 55902
Primary Media Contacts:
Susan Rhode, Director of Marketing, Farm Journal (913) 213-7110 or email@example.com
Joe May, Marketing Director, Pro Farmer (319) 883-9616 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional media resources and information are available at www.profarmer.com/media
Official Event Name: Pro Farmer Crop Tour
Please refer to the event as "Pro Farmer Crop Tour" on first reference and as "Crop Tour” on subsequent references
Pro Farmer is owned by Farm Journal
Pro Farmer Crop Tour is hosted in partnership with Farm Journal
Daily Data Release Schedule—Eastern Tour
Monday, August 21 — Final data available for Ohio
Tuesday, August 22 — Final data available for Indiana
Wednesday, August 23 — Final data available for Illinois
Thursday, August 24 — Final data available for Iowa and Minnesota
Nightly Meetings/Data Release Schedule—Western Tour
Monday, August 21 — Final data available for South Dakota Tuesday, August 22 — Final data available for Nebraska. Wednesday, August 23 — Final data available for IA districts 1, 4 & 7 Thursday, August 24 — Final data available for Iowa and Minnesota
Pro Farmer National Crop Production Estimates
Friday, August 25 — Release available at 1:30 pm CST
All interested media can make arrangements with Brian Grete to receive the estimates (embargoed for release at 1:30 p.m. CT).
Friday's Pro Farmer National Crop Production estimate is not a Crop Tour estimate — it is a Pro Farmer estimate. While Pro Farmer obviously uses the data collected on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour and this data obviously plays a huge role in determining the estimate, Pro Farmer’s editors and analysts also consider other factors, such as crop maturity, soil moisture conditions, disease/pest infestation and prospects outside the tour area in arriving at the crop estimate. Because late-season weather can still impact final yields, the Pro Farmer crop estimate will be given in a range of production potential.
Calculation of Statistics:
Corn yields are calculated using a consistent data set: ear populations, grain length in
inches, kernel rows around the ear and row spacing in each field.
Soybean yields are not estimated because two extremely important variables—number of seeds per pod and seed weight—are impossible to measure on a tour of this type. Scouts calculate the number of pods in a 3-foot by 3-foot square — 9 square feet. The pod count allows for comparison to previous tours and helps determine how much of the “bean-making factory” is in production.
District averages are a simple average of all samples collected within that district.
State averages are a simple average of all samples collected within the state.
Historical district averages are a simple average of all the samples collected within that district in that state.
Historical state averages are a simple average of all samples collected in that state for that year.
The 3-year average for each district is a simple average of the previous three years’ (2018 thru 2020) district averages.
The 3-year average for each state is a simple average of the previous three years’ (2018 thru 2020) state averages.
Crop Tour Historical Facts:
• The tour has been organized and hosted by Pro Farmer since 1993
• Farm Journal purchased Pro Farmer and joined the event in 1998
• Prior to 1993, the tour was organized by various organizations
• Immediately preceding Pro Farmer, the tour was directed by Jim Quinton, who was an independent crop consultant/advisor.
• The tour was started in the 1970s by the Illinois Corn Growers.
• The same procedures are used each year to make year-to-year comparisons relevant and useful.
About Crop Tour
The Pro Farmer Crop Tour’s primary goal is to provide the industry with accurate growing season information about likely corn and soybean production potential at the state and regional levels during the upcoming harvest season.
Crop Tour’s data-gathering methods are disciplined, and time tested, producing consistent results. The Tour’s crop scouts, especially the new ones, receive formal instruction before the Tour and training from Tour veterans along the way. Results from the Tour have a big impact on Pro Farmer Newsletter’s annual crop production estimate released at week’s end. But observations gathered during the Tour can be just as important as the data itself.
“We pull enough samples to provide us with accurate data for a large geographic area. Crop Tour does not attempt to predict actual yields for individual fields or even a county. Instead, we are trying to gauge production potential across the Corn Belt. The best number we have at the end of the week is the average from all of the roughly 1,500 corn and 1,500 soybean samples we measure during the week,” says Pro Farmer Editor Brian Grete.
“USDA’s corn and soybean crop ratings show there’s a great divide between those areas where rains have been prevalent and the areas that have been dry,” says Brian Grete. “Crop Tour will give us a first-hand look at whether the good areas are enough to compensate for the poorer locations. This is a service we provide to the industry, and anyone with interest can tune into our live-streamed coverage each night of the Tour.”
“Soybean yields are always difficult to forecast because the relationship of pod counts to yields varies quite a bit from state to state,” Grete explains. “Plus, weather after Tour is critical to how the soybean crop finishes. But pod counts gathered on Crop Tour usually provide us with good perspective on the soybean crop’s yield ‘factory.’
Pro Farmer has been conducting the Midwest Crop Tour since 1993. Early Tours focused on Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio, with Nebraska and South Dakota added in 1998. Together, the seven states that make up the Tour account for about 70% of our nation’s corn and soybean production.
Pro Farmer Crop Tour Strives to Stay “Consistently Random.”
The Tour stays consistent by traveling the third week of August every year, by traveling the same routes every year and by using the same sampling procedure in every field.
The randomness of the Tour is actually “planned randomness.” It’s achieved by not
predetermining which fields will be sampled and by allowing each team to select the location in the field. But it doesn’t end there: More planned randomness is added by walking 35 paces down the main rows to the sample location. (When scouts start walking into a corn field, there’s no way to tell what will be about 35 yards beyond the end rows.) Even the ear selection is consistently random. By pulling the fifth, eighth and 11th ear from one sample row, scouts might pull the three best, or three worst, ears from the row.
That’s a lot of investigation ... but how do you use it? There is only one way to use data collected on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour—compare the current results to past Tours. That comparison has proven to yield the most reliable analysis of fresh data.
We’ve studied and analyzed thousands of samples over 25 years of touring, and we’ve calculated the “historical error” of the Tour data. Simply put, we know the Tour results will be different than USDA’s final yield estimate for each state. Fortunately, we know which states the Tour measures “high” or “low,” and we know, on average, by how much. That allows us to adjust Tour results to produce a more reliable yield estimate when the Pro Farmer crop estimates are released following completion of the Tour.
When you hear results from the Tour, don’t just compare them to USDA’s August Crop Production report. Compare Tour results to the previous year’s results to figure how much bigger or smaller average yields will be.
Daily results, data and observations will be available on www.profarmer.com
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