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.