USDA Oct. 11 Crop Production Still Hangs in the Balance

October 4, 2013 10:22 AM

Via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

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But odds are declining that the report will still be released as scheduled.

Release of USDA's Crop Production and Supply/Demand reports, currently scheduled for Friday, Oct. 11, remains an uncertainty at this point with USDA shuttered and no signals from the agency on whether it will have to be rescheduled or not.

Heading into the shutdown, sources with USDA's National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) said if the shutdown were to last only "a day or two" then the report would likely be able to be released as scheduled. But if the shutdown were to last longer than that, sources said it may necessitate pushing back the release date.

Objective yield data gathering was to run through Oct. 2, according to contacts, with the farmer survey portion of the data collection scheduled to run through Oct. 7. With the shutdown, that halted data gathering on both fronts which means the agency still would need to finish the work on both the objective yield and farmer survey portions.

That is just the data gathering side without any of the usual timeframe used to compile the data at the state level and send it in an encrypted form to the NASS headquarters in Washington.

"I'd said there's an outside chance you could see the data still released on Oct. 11, but that would take the government shutdown basically ending over the weekend," said one long-time market watcher, adding that seemed unlikely given the entrenched positions on both sides.

Any delay in releasing the Crop Production report would also mean a delay in the Supply/Demand report as that utilizes the survey-based production estimate generated by NASS for its balance sheets.

In addition, there is the matter of certified acreage data from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which given the shutdown, has not been updated to reflect the latest information.

Comments: Unlike the prior government shutdown in 1995 and 1996, USDA is shuttered this time around as they did receive their appropriations on time during the 1995-1996 shutdown to be able to publish the Annual Production Summary, Winter Wheat Seedings and other reports as scheduled.

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