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My Reflections on the Midwest Crop Tour

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August 29th, 2011

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 even getting one sprinkle this year.  My thoughts are as follows:

  • Last year, I remember having multiple stops where the corn yield was over 200 bushels.  Also, I remember that at least 70% or more of the corn yields were 170 or higher.  This year, each day, we would only have one or two fields over 200 and perhaps 3 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 bushels 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 a 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 and Brian leading each leg to the other 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.

Paul Neiffer

Paul Neiffer is a certified public accountant and business advisor specializing in income taxation, accounting services, and succession planning for farmers and agribusiness processors. Paul is a partner with CliftonLarsonAllen in Yakima, Washington, as well as a regular speaker at national conferences and contributor at agweb.com. Raised on a farm in central Washington, he has been immersed in the ag industry his entire life, including the last 30 years professionally. In fact, Paul drives combine each summer for his cousins and that is what he considers a vacation.

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