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Published October 28, 2013, 10:21 AM

Key USDA reports coming Nov. 8

Crop production and global supply-and-demand estimates take on added importance.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Two widely watched U.S. Department of Agriculture reports have

some catching up to do, and their upcoming November editions will attract strong interest, agricultural economists say.

Because of the now-ended government shutdown, USDA didn’t issue its monthly crop production report and its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report in October. The reports always draw close attention, but the updated versions, to be released Nov. 8, will generate more interest than usual because of the October gap, officials say.

“For better or worse, everybody’s going to be holding their breath and crossing their fingers until those reports come out,” says Frayne Olson, crops economist and marketing specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

The crop production report will update official harvest forecasts, most notably for corn and soybeans. WASDE will update global supply and demand estimates.

Unfortunate timing

Cancellation of the reports “hit at an unfortunate time,” says Todd Davis, senior economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C.

The wet spring prevented many acres from being planted, and new information from USDA would have helped resolve at least some of the uncertainty, he says.

Private firms estimate U.S. crop production, too.

But USDA provides an “unbiased source of information,” Davis says. “They have the consistent methodology. It’s important to have that consistent source of information in the marketplace.”

The National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of USDA, will begin gathering information for the new crop production report on or around Nov. 1, according to Darin Jantzi, director of the NASS North Dakota field office.

Most of the information comes from a telephone survey of producers, with a small amount provided by producers online, he says.

Normally, NASS shores up its planted acreage estimate in the October report. This year, that will be done in the November report, he says.