Did Illinois Farmers Mislead USDA With Their August Surveys?

August 22, 2018 02:12 PM

As Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour scouts are making their way through Illinois, the crop they’re seeing does not appear to be the same crop USDA reported in their August 1 record yield estimate of 207 bu. per acre. Veteran Crop Tour scout Pete Meyer wonders if farmers who completed USDA surveys in August didn’t spend as much time in the field as they should have before sending in their yield estimates. 

As Meyer traveled through McLean County Illinois he was surprised by low yields.

“[Last year] I had a 223 bushel per acre averaging corn, [today] we didn't see anything over 170,” he told U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan. “Talking to some other scouts, there were a couple 220s in the lower part of McLean county, but the northern part is burnt up, and then in the central part of the county we saw yield ranging 150 to 190, so if you have 223 in the bottom and you’ve got 160 or 170 at the top, you're not going to make 223 for the county.”

On his routes yesterday and today, Meyer says the fields they saw were average. He expected yields to be higher given USDA’s yield estimate of 207, which has him wondering if August surveys weren’t as accurate as they could have been. 

“I think what's happened here, is that the more and more farmers that you talk to, what they've said is the time that the survey was sent out on July 26, until the second week of August, now we're in the third week in August, the crop has definitely moved backwards,” he says. “Now taking them at their word, there's no question about it, I take every farmer his word, but I have to wonder if some of the surveys that were filled out for the for the August report were also filled out from the kitchen window and not really a lot of time spent in the in the fields.”

USDA sends three times more farmer surveys to figure out their September yield estimate, so Meyer is anxious to see how those numbers compare to August. 

“We're going to see some big numbers come in September,” he said. “I'm going to be very interested to see what the September numbers are. The August numbers as usual, were just preliminary.”

While Meyer thinks the Illinois corn crop will produce good yields, probably on pace with last year, he doesn’t think a record corn yield is in the cards for Illinois farmers. 

“Last year all we saw was consistency, consistency, consistency. This year, we have a lot of variability,” he says. “As you know, variability does not lend itself to record deals.”

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Spell Check

Ulysses, KS
10/19/2018 07:30 AM

  Why does anyone , especially commodities traders put any stock in these surveys and reports. At best they are a GUESS, or worse they are used to manipulate the markets . They drive around on their little crop tour in their electric car eating tide pods and tell everyone within 1 bushel of what the National yield will be , PLEASE!!!

Douglas Street
Newton, KS
8/22/2018 04:13 PM

  The weather is a major factor from a month ago. Have we already seen a weather rally?

Grant Frey
Jamestown, ND
8/23/2018 08:01 AM

  Who gets these crop surveys? I don’t know a single farmer around here that has ever saw one.


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