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Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour - Day 4


Midwest Crop Tour – Day 4 Reports (August 23, 2018)

Pro Farmer U.S. 2018 Corn and Soybean Crop Estimates

Corn: 14.501 billion bu.; Average yield of 177.3 bu. per acre
Corn +/- 1% = 14.646 billion bu. to 14.356 billion bu.; 179.1 bu. to 175.5 bu. per acre

Soybeans: 4.683 billion bu.; Average yield of 53.0 bu. per acre
Soybeans +/- 2% = 4.731 billion bu. to 4.589 billion bu.; 54.1 bu. to 51.9 bu. per acre

Note: These estimates reflect Pro Farmer’s view on production and yields. These estimates are based on assumptions for normal weather through the remainder of the growing season. We measured a mature crop that in some cases is just weeks away from harvest. Most of the corn crop (possibly with the exception of Iowa and Minnesota) will not be able to add to yield. Soybeans have the soil moisture needed for a strong finish. The soybean production estimate assumes a 500,000-acre reduction versus the June Acreage Report.

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Audio Reports Listen to Local Wrap-Up Reports from Pioneer

Brian Early, Agronomist - North-Central Indiana



Brad Rademacher, Agronomist - East-Central Illinois



Chris Horob, Account Manager - Southeast Minnesota



Matt Essick, Agronomist - Northwest Iowa



Chris Zwiener, Technical Product Manager - Fremont, Nebraska



Thursday, August 23, 2018

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Eastern Route

Eastern Route Map for Crop Tour Day 4.

Liz Knutson

Liz Knutson

Pioneer Territory


Pioneer Agronomy Report
Eastern Route - Day 4

  • Starts in Iowa City, IA.
  • Ends in Rochester, MN.

Crop Observations - Southern Minnesota


  • Wet conditions early in the season for south-central Minnesota.


  • Southeast MN:
    • 350-400 GDU's ahead of 2017. Significant for crop progress.
    • Some black layer by Labor Day.  With this year's heat later-maturing products doing well.
  • South-central MN:
    • Much planting delayed until first few days of May.
    • Planting wrapped up around mid-May.
    • Heat accumulations pushing the crop along.
    • Need more moderate to cooler night-time temperatures at this point.
    • Need a more prolonged grain-fill period for good grain quality and test weight.

AudioListen to Local Crop Reports from Southern Minnesota - Which products are doing well?

Liz Knutson - Pioneer Territory Manager



Brian Buck - Pioneer Field Agronomist



Jay Zielski - Pioneer Field Agronomist




The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and suggestions specific to your operation. Product performance is variable and depends on many factors such as moisture and heat stress, soil type, management practices and environmental stress as well as disease and pest pressures. Individual results may vary.



Thursday, August 23, 2018

Brian Grete
Brian Grete

Pro Farmer Crop Report

Eastern Route - Day 4
Starts in Iowa City, IA, and ends in Rochester, MN.

My route took me west out of Iowa City and then north up the I-380 corridor through eastern Iowa. In 11 stops in Iowa crop districts 6 and 3, we had an average corn yield of 197.2 bu. per acre. But two of those samples were clunkers compared to the rest at 134 bu. and 156 bu. per acre. In both cases, tipback caused the yield calculation to be much lower than it should have been. The rest of my route’s corn yields were between 185 bu. and 241 bu. per acre. As has been the case through Crop Tour, ear counts were high along my route. Growing conditions were very good for most of the area I sampled throughout the growing season, so it wasn’t surprising to see strong yields. Quite honestly, I was a little surprised we didn’t see even bigger yields in this area.

Soybean pod counts in a 3’ x 3’ square along my route averaged 1315 in eastern Iowa. We had a relatively tight range from just over 1000 to 1700. As was the case throughout the week on the eastern leg of Crop Tour, the soybeans are heavily podded. They should have plenty of moisture to finish strong. A high number of pods and late-season moisture are the “recipe” for building a big bean yield.

As my route transitioned into southeastern Minnesota, we pulled only two samples along my route. So, it’s hard to make too many judgments. But our limited sample size showed more variability than what we saw in eastern Iowa.

Final Day 4 observations
After four days of sampling fields across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and southeastern Minnesota, I was most impressed with the Ohio corn crop. That doesn’t mean Ohio’s corn crop will out-yield those other states, because it won’t. But compared to a normal year, Ohio’s corn crop was stellar. That’s the best Ohio corn crop I’ve seen in my 11 years on Crop Tour.

The other takeaway from the corn crop in states the eastern route sampled was the advanced maturity of the crop. The finish line isn’t far off for much of this crop. How will the rapid maturation impact yields? That’s the major question that won’t be answered for a while. But it’s clear we measured yield on Crop Tour this year versus yield potential we measure in many years. The biggest risk for much of the crop would be poor late-season weather that could rob some yield if early fall weather features heavy rains or high winds.

The soybean crop is heavily podded across the eastern Corn Belt and eastern Iowa. We didn’t see many flowers and didn’t count many small pods this year, but the pods that are there have the factors needed to plump up nicely into harvest. The combination of high pod counts and August rains means the crop could finish very well this year.

I would like to thank all of the scouts who participated in Crop Tour this year. We can’t do what we do during the week without your effort. It’s greatly appreciated. I hope to see each of you back again next year on the 2019 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.

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Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson
Senior Market

Pro Farmer Crop Report

Western Route - Day 4
Starts in Spencer, IA, and ends in Rochester, MN.

Day 4 of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour finished Thursday afternoon with both the east and the west tours converging on Rochester, MN.

Western Tour on Day 4 in Minnesota.
From Spencer, IA to Rochester the corn and soybeans were variable with a range of 150 bushels from high to low on corn samples and a 700-pod range for soybeans. The crop is struggling in the southwestern region of the state, but the damage is much more severe as you move into the central part of Minnesota. The are many fields where farmers went the prevent-plant insurance route this year because of excessive rains in May and June.

Planting dates make a big difference in Minnesota. If the crops got in early, they look good. The top end has been taken off in some fields while others will be very good. Most of the difference between bottom and top on early planted corn and soybeans rests with follow up rains in June and the amounts, frequency and intensity that the fell early in the season.

One Illinois-based scout noted in central Minnesota that for the first time in his more than 10 years on the tour he measured a bigger yield of corn than the pod count in the neighboring soybean fields.

There is some immature corn across the state. It should not be a major concern with some heat in the forecasts.

Soybeans might need one rain to fill the pods with plumber beans. The bean pod counts on my route were a little disappointing. Plants are generally shorter than normal with fewer four-bean pods and more one- and two-bean pods showing up.

Day 4 final observations:
I’ve been going on this tour for 20 years, mostly going on the East with Brian as a reporter. Without the insights from growers on this tour to educate me on the ways of the western corn and soybean growing differences it would have been a difficult week. Also big THANKS to both Chip Flory, my mentor this week and Emily Carolan, the PF Tour data specialist and agronomy consultant.

The crops in South Dakota’s southeast districts were consistently good. But you don’t have to go very far north or west from the areas we scouted to find the ill-effects of hot, dry weather. That will weigh on the states final yields.

Nebraska was consistently good for both beans and corn and may well reach the records projected by USDA earlier this month.

Western Iowa was surprising as it appears the soybeans in the southern district enjoy enough stress and timely rains to produce 27% more pods than a year earlier. Central-west looks good to great. Northern areas are highly variable and large empty potholes across those counties may end up dragging down yields in a very important Iowa district.

It’s been fun, education and mostly a joy to meet and get to know a whole new group on the western tour. I encourage anyone interested in joining PFTOUR19 to reach out to me at

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How Midwest Crop Tour Scouts Gather Data


The Midwest Crop Tour dates to 1987. Pro Farmer was an original participant, then agreed to take over as its organizer in 1993 and began publishing the Crop Tour’s results as a service to the agricultural community at large. Crop Tour helps “level the playing field” by providing all market participants with access to information, unlike the many ongoing private assessments of Midwest crops.

In 2000, Crop Tour was expanded to its current scale. Crop Tour supporters like DuPont Pioneer enable Crop Tour to survey a large geographic area, host daily grower meetings, and provide more extensive media coverage of the Crop Tour findings.

Conducted the third full week of August each year, Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour is the most widely followed “field survey” for corn and soybeans during the critical crop development period that happens in between USDA’s August and September crop surveys.


More than 100 “scouts” (farmers, media, agribusiness, and Pro Farmer staff) are organized into teams that fan across 20 pre-determined Midwest routes Monday through Thursday. Scout teams travel in vehicles which prominently display “Midwest Crop Tour” decals. In addition, each scout wears Crop Tour logo apparel so that all Crop Tour participants are readily identifiable by farmers and landowners.

The “Eastern leg” begins sampling in western Ohio, working its way across Indiana, Illinois, eastern Iowa and then southern Minnesota. The “Western leg” begins in southern South Dakota, then across eastern Nebraska, western Iowa and into southern Minnesota. Both sides of the Tour conclude in Rochester, Minn., on Thursday night.

Scouts attend a training session prior to Crop Tour and each team of about 2 to 4 people includes at least 1 experienced scout. The assigned routes that the scout teams travel have been consistent over the years to assure comparability.

Crop scouts walk fields in seven states during the Crop Tour.

DuPont Pioneer agronomists and more than 100 volunteer crop scouts will tabulate measurements taken from corn and soybean fields during the 4-day crop tour.

Field Selection

Teams pull onto rural side roads every 15-20 miles from their primary route and stop at survey locations that meet the following criteria:

Crop Sampling and Data
Crop Tour sampling and measurements are designed to get representative results for crop districts, states, and the entire Midwest – not individual fields or counties.

  • Safe parking available on a wide shoulder or field driveway
  • Accessible corn/soybean fields that are not fenced or posted
  • No structures such as homes, machine sheds, grain bins, or livestock buildings
  • Scouts measure 3 ears of corn or count pods on 3 soybean plants from just 1 location in each field surveyed. Each sample is identified by county so it can be tabulated by crop district, but is not associated with a specific field or farm location. Care is taken to move in and out of each field quickly, without damage.
Corn grain length and girth are measured during the Crop Tour.

Several measurements such as grain length and girth of corn ears are taken to estimate corn yields.




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