DTN 2020 Yield Tour 08/07 12:30
Digital Tour Hits Mark for Today's Virtual World
The third annual DTN/Progressive Farmer Digital Yield Tour, powered by Gro
Intelligence, kicks off next week, taking an in-depth look at corn and soybean
production potential in 10 states.
Greg D. Horstmeier
OMAHA (DTN) -- It's nice to be ahead of the curve, even when that curve is
thrown at you due to unfortunate circumstances.
With the whole world turning to virtual meetings and events, we're fortunate
that three years ago, DTN/Progressive Farmer linked up with Gro Intelligence to
start the country's first virtual yield tour. The 2020 DTN/Progressive Farmer
Digital Yield Tour, powered by Gro Intelligence, kicks off Aug. 10. It's our
third annual high-tech look at the U.S. corn and soybean crops.
So, to grammatically improve an oft-used phrase, this isn't our first rodeo
in using technology to replace carloads of tour scouts taking physical yield
counts on a traditional yield tour. What we've learned in those three years is
that a digital-based tour not only meant fewer bug bites and muddy boots, it
also improved and added depth to investigating how the corn and soybean crops
were shaping up.
The 2020 Digital Yield Tour will feature our fine-tuned combination of Gro
Intelligence yield model estimates and "on the ground" reports from DTN and
Progressive Farmer reporters and their sources. The combination provides one of
the clearest pictures of the 2020 U.S. corn and soybean crop.
The timing of the tour, typically in mid-August, this year coincides with
the Aug. 12 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. So,
in the middle of our state-by-state tour reports, we'll be providing our normal
time-sensitive WASDE reports minutes after that data is released by USDA, which
is scheduled for 11 a.m. Central.
Our day-by-day schedule for the states covered on the virtual tour is: Aug.
10, South Dakota and Nebraska; Aug. 11, Kansas and Missouri; Aug. 12, Iowa,
Minnesota and Wisconsin; Aug. 13, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The big reveal on
overall national average yield estimates will culminate the week on Aug. 14.
Gro's yield models run constantly to update its yield projections. As in
years past, we'll draw a line in the sand each morning, with DTN reporters
digging into the yield projections for the appropriate states with Gro data
experts. Our reporters will then discuss those state numbers with farmers,
agronomists and other sources in those states to get that on-the-ground view
that satellite images can't replicate. They'll also talk to DTN experts on
weather and commodity analysis teams to get a well-rounded perspective on the
numbers and what they portend for commodity markets.
It almost goes unsaid that, at this time of social distancing and limited
travel, the ability to harness the power and consistency of a satellite's
virtual view has become critical to DTN's efforts to help farmers and the grain
industry plan for the 2020 harvest and grain-marketing seasons.
TECHNOLOGY BEHIND THE NUMBERS
As in previous years, our daily yield projections will be based on Gro's
real-time crop analytical models. Gro Senior Vice President for Agribusiness
James Heneghan explains their modeling system is based on a multitude of public
and private crop and environmental data: normalized difference vegetation index
(NDVI) from NASA satellite imagery, land surface temperature (LST) maps,
rainfall (including DTN-supplied weather data), USDA crop condition surveys,
crop calendars, planted and harvested acreage data from the National
Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), cropland data and U.S. government soil
"Gro's datasets start at the county level, then build from county data into
statewide and national yield outlooks," Heneghan said.
Each day's article will include links to Gro's state maps, allowing users to
hover over counties they are interested in and get detailed yield and related
numbers. As in previous years, this rare look into the Gro information factory
will give readers unique insights made possible through the Gro/DTN partnership.
If you're new to the tour, or to Gro's methodology, Heneghan encourages
readers to look through the website at http://www.Gro-intelligence.com and read
the company's white papers on how the models were developed and other materials.
A new addition to our Yield Tour team is equipment maker Claas. The
Germany-based company, which has its own history of bringing advanced
technologies to agriculture, has signed on as official 2020 tour sponsor. That
support is helping us expand our tour coverage into a series of podcasts and
webinars that will dig deeper into what we're learning on the 2020 tour. Yield
Tour podcasts will be part of our Progressive Farmer Field Posts Podcast
series, found whereever you get your podcasts as well as in our Videos area at
You can also participate by following along on social media at
#dtnyieldtour20. You can also add to the on-the-ground portion of the tour by
posting your own yield checks and crop photos to that hashtag. You can also
send your results to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find detailed information on how to
take those yield checks along with other yield tour content next week at
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