June 17 | USDA NASS Weekly Crop Progress Report





Statistical Methodology
via USDA NASS

Weekly Crop Progress Report Survey Procedures: Crop progress and condition estimates are based on survey data collected each week from early April through the end of November. The non-probability crop progress and condition surveys include input from approximately 4,000 respondents whose occupations provide them opportunities to make visual observations and frequently bring them in contact with farmers in their counties. Based on standard definitions, these respondents subjectively estimate the progress of crops through various stages of development, as well as the progress of producer activities. They also provide subjective evaluations of crop conditions.

Most respondents complete their questionnaires on Friday or early Monday morning and submit them to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Field Offices in their States by mail, telephone, fax, e-mail, or through a secured internet website. A small number of reports are completed on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Regardless of when questionnaires are completed, respondents are asked to report for the entire week ending on Sunday. For reports submitted prior to the Sunday reference date, a degree of uncertainty is introduced by projections for weekend changes in progress and condition. By the end of the 2015 season, over 90 percent of the data were being submitted through the internet website. As a result, the majority of all data are submitted on Monday morning, significantly reducing projection uncertainty.

Respondents are sent written reporting instructions at the beginning of each season and are contacted periodically to ensure proper reporting. Terms and definitions of crop stages and condition categories used as reporting guidelines are available on the NASS website at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/National_Crop_Progress.

Estimating Procedures: Reported data are reviewed for reasonableness and consistency by comparing with data reported the previous week and data reported in surrounding counties for the current week. Field Offices summarize the reported data to district and State levels, weighting each county’s reported data by NASS county acreage estimates. Summarized indications are compared with previous week estimates, and progress items are compared with earlier stages of development and historical averages to ensure reasonableness. Weather events and respondent comments are also taken into consideration. State estimates are submitted to the Agricultural Statistics Board (ASB) along with supporting comments, where they are compared with surrounding States and compiled into a National level summary by weighting each State by its acreage estimates.

Revision Policy: Progress and condition estimates in the Crop Progress report are released after 4:00 pm ET on the first business day of the week. These estimates are subject to revision the following week.

University of Illinois Weed Science Field Research Tour

This Wednesday farmers and others interested in weeds can learn more at University of Illinois’ Weed Science Field Tour. The tour kicks off early in the morning says U of I’s Aaron Hager.

Quote Summary - It’ll be at the South Farms and will begin roughly between 7:30 and 8:00 o’clock in the morning. It will be very similar in terms of format to what we’ve done before. We’ll all gather around the South Farms at the Seed House for a few introductory remarks and comments, and then everybody will get back into their vehicles and we’ll car pool across Windsor Road and look at some of the research plots on the Animal Sciences tracts.

The 2016 University of Illinois Weed Science Field Day is this Wednesday, June 29th at the University of Illinois Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, the South Farms, located just to the east of the State Farm Center (Assembly Hall).

Coffee and refreshments will be available under the shade trees near the Seed House beginning at 8:00 a.m. Cost for the Urbana weed science field tour is $10. The event will conclude around noon with a catered lunch.

The tour will provide ample opportunity to look at research plots and interact with weed science faculty, staff, and graduate students. Participants can compare their favorite corn and soybean herbicide programs to other commercial programs and get an early look at a few new products that soon will be on the market.

Agronomy Day on the South Farms August 18, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – Have questions about pest resistance or curious about the use of drones in agriculture? Plan to hear more on these and other topics related to crop sciences at the 59th annual Agronomy Day at the University of Illinois on August 18.

Field tour topics and speakers for Agronomy Day 2016 were recently announced. Topics include:

TOUR A
Cataloging the weapons arsenal of the Fusarium head blight pathogen
Genetic resistance for northern leaf blight and Goss’ wilt in corn
Stripe rust and scab resistance in wheat
Bt resistance in corn rootworm beetles Nematodes: How does the worm turn?

TOUR B
Nitrogen management: Balancing profitability with sustainability
Economics of nutrient management
Land values
Six weed management predictions to keep you up at night
Investigating low crop emergence in edamame

TOUR C
The show must go on: Balancing water use under continuously changing environmental conditions
Cover crops for soybean and corn rotation
Soybean planting date and variety maturity
Managing soybeans for high yields Drone information and demonstration

TOUR D
*Offered at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (tentative) with limited availability, as attendees will be transported offsite to SoyFACE. Attendees will need to sign up in advance at the registration table. Tours will last one hour.

What is SoyFACE?
Improving maize tolerance in air pollution CO2
Improving drought tolerance and water use efficiency in C4 crops

For a full list of this year’s speakers and topics, visit http://agronomyday.cropsci.illinois.edu/.

Agronomy Day attracts more than 1,000 people each year seeking the latest information on technology and techniques to improve food and fuel production. This year, agronomy day will be held in a new location at 4202 South 1st Street in Savoy, Illinois. For more information on speakers, displays, and location, join Agronomy Day 2016 on Facebook or visit the Agronomy Day website.

National GMO Labeling Bill in Motion

The U.S. Senate’s agricultural committee has reached a food labeling bill agreement that could set aside the state of Vermont’s GMO law. Ranking members Pat Roberts of Kansas, a Republican, and Debbie Stabenaw, a Michigan Democrat, announced a digital codes compromise. If the full Senate and the House pass the legislation food packages containing a narrowly defined set of genetically engineered ingredients would include a digital disclosure code or an on package symbol or language that the Agriculture Department would approve. The code, which could be scanned by a smartphone, would be accompanied by the sentence, “Scan here for more food information”.

The compromise narrowly defines genetically modified for the purposes of food labels. Only ingredients derived from GMO’s made by transferring genes from one organism to another would require labeling. Foods made with ingredients where the genetic code is edited - a deleted or duplicated gene for example - would not require the GMO notifications.

COMMENTARY: Robert's Rules of Order

What risks are there to organizing a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives?
Will the Ethics Committee be called to action?
Honestly, what happened on the floor of the House in my opinion is deplorable. It breaks down the rules of debate that are set up for just reasons to allow the majority (whichever party or however it is comprised) to rule. The rules allow debate to be orderly, and for the minority opinion to be heard. It does not require a vote on that opinion. This works for all parties/individuals and I am fearful what happened here will have far reaching and ill affects.
Robert’s Rules of Oder were devised, originally, from the rules of the House of Representatives. The House, therefore, has a long and storied history of orderly debate: http://www.rulesonline.com

The foundations of democracy have been shaken by this action.

Soybean Stocks, Acreage, and Weather

The price of soybeans has rallied so much this season that one agricultural economist is doubtful there is much additional upside potential.

New crop soybeans are worth about two-and-half dollars more today than back in February when farmers purchased insurance to cover the price risk inherent in farming. The rise has to do with a short crop from South America, above average temperatures in the United States, and only scattered rainfall in the mid-section of the nation. Farmers can now sell beans for about $11 a bushel for fall delivery, and that doesn’t seem too bad to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

Quote Summary - While there is a potential for prices to move even higher with stressful summer weather, that potential may be less than the potential for corn, depending on the magnitude of planted acres, since soybean prices have already experienced a sharp rally and soybean yields are less sensitive to summer weather than are corn yields.

The path soybeans have taken to higher prices is pretty clear. The July contract at the CME Group in Chicago is up 25% since April 1, 2016. The rally came as the market came to grips with a 200 million bushel reduction in the estimated size of the combined Argentine and Brazilian soybean crops and the resulting surge in export demand for U.S. soybeans. The next stop on this price train forward is the end of month reports from the United States Department of Agriculture. USDA will release the Acreage and Grain Stocks reports June 30th. Darrel Good calculates the expected June 1 Grain Stocks for soybeans near 842 million bushels.


Soybean Inventory Estimate
(in billion bushels)

1.531 March 1, 2016 Inventory
+ .006 Imports
- .173 Exports
- .487 Crush
- .035 Feed & Residual

0.842 June 1, 2016 Inventory


He believes there is room for a surprise in the Acreage Report. USDA’s survey of farmers in March put expectations at 82.236 million acres. This number could be higher for a couple of reasons. The consensus seems to be that the June Acreage report will reveal that acreage exceeded intentions due to some switching of intended corn acreage to soybeans as the result of the increase in soybean prices relative to corn prices since March and the delayed corn planting in parts of the eastern Corn Belt.

Soybean acreage may also exceed intentions, writes Darrel Good on the FarmDocDaily website, as a result of total acreage of spring planted crops exceeding intentions reported in March.

Fungicide Applications Improve Corn Silage Feed Efficiency

June is National Dairy Month

Spraying a fungicide on corn in the Midwest has always been a 50/50 proposition related to cost. Half of the time it bumps yield by a couple of bushels and this can sometimes be enough to cover the cost. However, if that corn is going into silage, some new work from the University of Illinois says the improvement in feed efficiency for dairy cattle can pay for the fungicide not just once, but maybe twice.

Purdue University & CME Group Ag Barometer

Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture and the derivatives marketplace CME Group are partnering to produce the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, a monthly nationwide measure of the health of the U.S. agricultural economy.

The introduction of this new economic indicator underscores the importance of the agricultural economy and its participants - food producers and agribusinesses - to the overall U.S. and global economies, Purdue and CME Group said Tuesday (May 3) in announcing the partnership.

“Agriculture is a critical component of the global economy and has been the cornerstone of CME Group’s business for nearly 170 years,” said CME Group Executive Chairman and President Terry Duffy. “By providing financial tools to help producers and agribusiness participants manage the risks they face, they are better able to focus on what they do best - feeding the world. We believe this collaboration with Purdue University to create the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer will provide an essential resource for monitoring the health of the food industry and vital insight into the global economy.”

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said, “Purdue’s College of Agriculture has a long tradition of pushing us toward better food security, safety and sustainability with its cutting-edge research. We can imagine no better partner than CME Group to help us analyze and report the real-time economic health of U.S. agriculture, on which literally every citizen and the rest of the economy depends.”

Each month, the Ag Economy Barometer will provide a sense of the agricultural economy’s health with an index value. Results to calculate the index are obtained through a survey of 400 large agricultural producers on economic sentiment. In addition, Purdue will bring its research and agricultural economics expertise to measure producers’ expectations of key farm economy drivers such as farm profitability; farmland prices; capital expenditures; row crop, livestock and dairy prices; and seasonal drivers such as seed, fertilizer and feed ingredient prices.

The barometer provides a value for each month that is relative to the base period, which is the winter and spring months of 2015 and 2016, explained Jim Mintert, director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture, professor of agricultural economics and the barometer’s principal investigator. A score of 100 would mean that the sentiment is unchanged from the base period values. Higher than 100 means sentiment improved from that period, whereas lower values would indicate sentiment declined.

Quarterly, the index will be accompanied by a webinar and in-depth thought leader survey. The 100 agricultural thought leaders surveyed include agricultural lenders, business professionals, academics, consultants and commodity association representatives. This survey is separate from the results of the producer survey but serves as a supplement to the barometer.

“The barometer is the only ongoing monthly measure of the health of the agricultural economy,” Mintert said. “Also unique is that the index is calculated based on producer sentiments about both current conditions and future expectations.”

April survey results

The agricultural sentiment of U.S. producers increased to 106 in April 2016, which was an improvement in producer sentiment compared to the base period of October 2015 through March 2016. The increase was driven in part by strengthening corn, soybean and wheat prices. After months of trending lower and a sharp drop in corn prices following the USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report, crop prices moved up during April. In addition, general weather conditions across the Plains and Midwest were favorable for crop development and planting and likely contributed to the improved sentiment.

“While the most recent data show an uptick in producers’ sentiment, it is important to keep the situation in perspective,” said David Widmar, senior research associate for the Center for Commercial Agriculture and lead researcher on the Ag Economy Barometer. “Overall, the general agricultural outlook is still difficult. A strong majority of respondents, from both the producer and quarterly Agricultural Thought Leaders survey, reported expectations of the next 12 months being ‘bad times’ financially across the agricultural sector.”

A website with more information on the Ag Economy Barometer is at www.purdue.edu/agbarometer.

Corn Prices to Reflect Summer Wx & Demand Strength

Summer has arrived and so has the critical three month period in which the nation’s food supply will be established. The commodity markets will follow weather conditions, crop ratings, and weather forecasts in order to form yield expectations. Todd Gleason reports the starting place is typically to assume a normal growing season.

University of Illinois Weed Science Field Research Tour

The Extension weed scientists on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign have scheduled their annual field day. The Weed Science tour is set for Wednesday June 29th says Aaron Hager.

It’ll be at the South Farms and will begin roughly between 7:30 and 8:00 o’clock in the morning. It will be very similar in terms of format to what we’ve done before. We’ll all gather around the South Farms at the Seed House for a few introductory remarks and comments, and then everybody will get back into their vehicles and we’ll car pool across Windsor Road and look at some of the research plots on the Animal Sciences tracts.

Again, the 2016 University of Illinois Weed Science Field Day is Wednesday, June 29th at the University of Illinois Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, the South Farms, located just to the east of the State Farm Center (Assembly Hall).

Coffee and refreshments will be available under the shade trees near the Seed House beginning at 8:00 a.m. Cost for the Urbana weed science field tour is $10. The event will conclude around noon with a catered lunch.

The tour will provide ample opportunity to look at research plots and interact with weed science faculty, staff, and graduate students. Participants can compare their favorite corn and soybean herbicide programs to other commercial programs and get an early look at a few new products that soon will be on the market.