Stocking up for the Crop Tour

August 17, 2009

Crop Tour SuppliesIf you’re planning on coming on next year’s Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, better start stocking up on supplies now. It takes a lot of equipment to measure a few ears of corn and count soybean pods. Scouts on the annual tour must be ready for nearly anything when they head into fields to gather data for estimates of this year’s corn and soybean harvest.

Let’s start at the bottom – boots.  Solid footwear is essential for tromping through rows of corn, many of which are expected to be muddy due to surplus rainfall around the Corn Belt. More storms are in the forecast for this week, good for crops but bad for crop scouts. A raincoat and pair of waterproof pants can make the difference between merely a bad day and a miserable one if it storms during the tour.

Sunglasses also are important, even on a rainy day, to protect your eyes from sharp edges of corn leaves. To further guard against the elements, scouts coat themselves in sun block and bug spray every morning.
To be sure, many scouts are farmers who are used to loading up on such supplies before heading to work. But for scouts who are grain traders or journalists, the equipment is not part of their normal job description.

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