Unprecedented Resurvey Effort

February 10, 2010 06:00 PM

Roger Bernard, Farm Journal Policy & Washington Editor

The process of bringing in and sizing the record 2009 corn and soybean crop may not be over for a while yet.

USDA's Annual Production Summary published Jan. 12, 2010, is typically the final word on the crop until the next annual summary issued a year later. This year, an unprecedented resurvey effort by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will take place to zero in on the size of the 2009 corn and soybean crop. NASS saw a considerable amount of corn and soybeans standing when the data was collected from farmers in early December. Recall that even USDA's Crop Progress Report was to have ended Nov. 30 for the season but was continued until Dec. 22, 2009.

The agency will recheck corn acres in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin and soybean acres in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. "If the newly collected data justifies any changes, NASS will update the Jan. 12 estimates in the March 10 report, except for South Dakota and North Dakota,” says the agency. "Since the inclement weather has persisted in those two states, producers there will be reinterviewed at a later time.”

While NASS has done a resurvey on small grains before, Joe Prusacki, director of the NASS Statistics Division, confirms that "this will be the first one for corn and soybeans.”

Questions Asked. So what will NASS ask the producers they resurvey? For for the December survey, Prusacki says the agency asked farmers "how many acres they planted and how many acres they harvested or intend to harvest, and then expected production on all acres—harvested and those intended to be harvested.”

When it comes to the resurvey on corn, for example, NASS will go back to those who indicated they weren't done with harvest. The agency will ask, "On Dec. 1, you indicated you had X acres yet to be harvested. Of those, how many did you harvest or do you still intend to harvest? What was the production on what was harvested or what is the expected production on those acres you still intend to harvest?”

You can e-mail Roger Bernard at rbernard@farmjournal.com.

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