Reports over the past number of weeks on plantings and crop condition from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have baffled farmers and changed the course of grain markets.

This week, live and up-to-date data from the ProFarmer Midwest Crop Tour will be watched with interest.

AgriLand has been following the tour on Twitter, as it provides the most up-to-date information available on the US corn crop.

Over 100 scouts are currently travelling in the midwest region of the US. Along the route they stop every 15 to 20 miles and sample corn fields; the routes are pre-determined. On the first day scouts sampled in Ohio and South Dakota, while also taking in some of Indiana and Nebraska.

Scouts will only be taking samples from planted acres and have been instructed to pass by ‘prevent plant’ acres.

However, if for example a scout stops in a soybean field and the pods have not yet emerged then that field will receive a zero in that count.

One of the route maps for Tuesday, August 20. Image source: Karen Braun

Reports so far – South Dakota

Betsy Jibben (US Farm Report) reported from South Dakota yesterday, August 19, and stated that some scouts were commenting that corn crops were behind in maturity and looked like July corn crops.

The overall average corn yield in South Dakota came in at 154.1bu/ac. That’s a 13.4% decrease from the yield taken on the tour in 2018. The USDA’s final report in January 2019 had average yields in South Dakota at 157bu/ac.


Karen Braun (Thomson Reuters) reported from Ohio yesterday. The average yield from the state came in at 154.4bu/ac – down 14% from last year’s tour. The USDA’s corn yield projection is also down 14%.

Pod counts for soybeans were down 39% year-on-year. The USDA’s report was down 17% year-on-year.

Tour to finish on Thursday

The tour takes place over four days. The 2019 tour began yesterday, August 19, and will finish on Thursday, August 22.

ProFarmer is a marketing organisation for farmers in the US and provides news, analysis and advice.