SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA, US — Approximately 50 scouts, mostly coming from the Midwest but some from as far away as Argentina and The Netherlands, gathered for the first time in a southeastern South Dakota hotel conference room on Aug. 20 to kick off the western leg of this year’s Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.

Over the next four days, these scouts will drive from South Dakota and across parts of Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota on several predetermined routes to randomly sample and assess the states’ corn and soybean crops and calculate plausible yield amounts for each state using technical formulas and qualitative inputs.

A separate group of scouts, equal in size with some originating in Brazil and Singapore, will simultaneously evaluate the corn and soybean crops in the tour’s eastern leg states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, meeting up with the western scouts in Rochester, Minnesota, US, on the fourth and final day Thursday.

Both legs of the tour are starting out in a week that some of the most extreme temperatures ever experienced are forecast in the region.

“In my 20-plus years of doing this crop tour, we’ve never gone through anything like this,” one scout shared.

A massive dome of heat bubbling up from the south bringing triple-digit temperatures and pushing away shafts of moisture may linger over the region the entire week, which also may have an impact on crops that already have experienced heat stress this year.

Most of the scouts are active farmers, and during introductions at the inaugural meeting, many of them shared they were expecting average to below-average crops this year due to lack of rain.