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USDA reports cancelled

Jordan Anderson 10/18/2013 @ 12:08pm Digital Content Editor for Successful Farming magazine and Agriculture.com

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) have cancelled Crop Production and Cotton Ginnings reports, and World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) cancelled the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) scheduled for October 11. The next scheduled date for the release of these reports is November 8.

Aside from the crop reports and WASDE, NASS’s weekly Crop Progess reports from October 7 and 15 will not be produced.  The Cattle on Feed and Peanut Prices reports scheduled for today are being postponed.

"While the lapse in federal funding has ended, NASS has not been able to engage in the necessary data collection and analysis over the past few weeks," the USDA said in an e-mailed statement. "NASS is assessing its data collection plans and evaluating the timing of upcoming reports."

People are disgruntled by the lack of information commonly relied on.  The cancellation of these reports means that the November 8 report will be the first harvest-time estimate of U.S. crops by the USDA.  By that point, much of the corn and soybean fields are harvested and cotton is halfway there.

“It’s not like you just flip a switch and a machine the size of the federal government just is back up and running. There’s going to be kind of a slow rollup in some areas,” said Dale Moore, American Farm Bureau Federation Public Policy Director. “There’s a lot of catching up to do, everything from the website at USDA, the market reports, things of that nature that have been left just idling while this process unfolds, have to get sorted out and they’ve also got to be working on what’s going on today.” 

First report missed in 147 years

The USDA began crop reports in 1866, the year following the end of the American Civil War. 

The last time USDA delayed these reports was in September of 2001, when they were deferred for two days in lieu of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"We have never missed a report in the past," said a USDA spokesman, who said the cancellation of the crop report was "the first time ever."

Markets bouncing back?

Scott Stiles, extension economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said that since the shutdown began, “the markets have been drifting, waiting for this information to come in.”

"The end of the government shutdown is adding some support to the grain markets this morning,” he said Thursday. “For the past two weeks the markets have had very little fundamental data to trade. Market volatility is picking up today in anticipation of the wave of data that will return over the next week."

Rumors flew that China has been a large buyer of corn and soybeans this past week causing excitement and anticipation to complete reports. 

Reuters stated overnight that China had bought close to 1.2 million tons of U.S. corn this month.  Confirming suspicions, Dow Jones Newswires relayed that China purchased nearly 20 shipments of U.S. corn (totaling around 1.2 metric tons) thus far in October as reported by Shanghai JC Intelligence.  

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