What gets Ag folks excited on a Monday morning on Twitter? Live Tweeting crop conditions. All day, the people of the “2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour,” have been tweeting their hearts out with the hashtag #PFtour14 to show the conditions of corn and soybeans across the Midwestern states.
The goal of this four day tour is to provide accurate information of the condition of corn and soybeans as harvest season approaches. We can’t think of a better way to do such a thing then traveling state to state live tweeting the conditions in the field in real time.
Now you might be wondering, doesn’t the USDA already collect data from around the country to provide the conditions of various crops? Yes, but this crop tour is unique in that they don’t want to focus on yield numbers specifically, but the big picture.
“Don’t focus on yield calculations from individual fields,” says Brian Grete, Pro Farmer senior market analyst and leader of the tour’s eastern leg. “That isn’t what we are trying to do, and we actually discourage scouts from tweeting individual yield results. Instead, we look at the entire area we cover as one big corn field. Twitter is most useful for getting a general idea of what scouts are finding. And the pictures are valuable.”
Essentially, give people the opportunity to tweet about the condition of their corn with pictures, and you got yourself one heck of a trend (pun intended). Take a look at some of the pictures from the first day of the tour, via the Ohio County Journal.
Photos Courtesy the Midwest Crop Tour
Now we know that the USDA severs a vital service of providing yield numbers that can greatly influence the grain markets, but these pictures are able to fill in the gaps where the USDA falls short. For example, the most recent crop report came out last week forecasting record yields, but that doesn’t mean that every field across the country is experiencing lively conditions. For example, take a look at this hail damaged corn in South Dakota.
— Karl Plume (@k_plume) August 18, 2014
Now, this isn’t the first time a group has been live tweeting the conditions of crops around the country, and we don’t think it’s going to be the last. The USDA can’t be everywhere at once, and farmers around the country are more than eager to share their eyes and ears in the field for everyone to see on twitter with a simple hashtag. Who knows, maybe the USDA will start hiring Field tweeters to keep up with trends, and improve on bad estimations. But that may just be wishful thinking.