Old-crop corn supplies are squeaky tight. From responses to its March surveys of farmers earlier this spring, USDA calculated that farmers in the U.S. are tracking toward planting the most corn acres this nation has seen since 1937. Soybean prices have surged. Just how many acres of which crops farmers have actually planted this spring will guide market direction going into harvest.
To provide insight on the 2012 planted acreage question, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service, or NASS, is spending the first two weeks of June surveying over 5,000 farmers across Iowa to get a clear indication of the production and supply of major commodities for the year. "In March, U.S. farmers reported that they intend to plant more acres to corn and fewer acres of soybeans," says Greg Thessen, director of the NASS Iowa field office in Des Moines. "Given the price fluctuations that have occurred since then and the rapid planting pace this spring, we are now reaching out to producers to find out what they actually planted."
Thessen adds, "We're also asking farmers to complete the survey to provide an update on the amount of grain in storage to help determine just how squeaky-tight old-crop corn stocks are."
Information gathered from farmers will provide clearer picture of 2012 outlook
Livestock head counts are also taking place. In addition to the crop acreage and grain stocks surveys, "We're also asking livestock producers for information on livestock inventories," explains NASS statistician Thessen. "Livestock are a key component of grain demand for feed. Together, the information gathered on crops and livestock will provide a comprehensive picture of how things are shaping up in 2012 for the U.S. agriculture industry."
* From now until June 15, farmers are being surveyed. NASS representatives will visit selected areas of land in Iowa and conduct personal interviews with the operators of land inside those areas. Other producers will also be contacted by mail or telephone to report on crop acreage, grain stocks and livestock inventories.
If you are asked to participate in the survey, you are encouraged to do so. According to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, "Farmer participation in NASS surveys is critical because farmers as well as the entire agricultural community need accurate and reliable information to make sound production and marketing decisions. The information is also used extensively by state, local and national leaders to address agricultural related issues that may impact producers."
By taking a few minutes to participate, the 5,000 selected farm operators can help ensure the results are as accurate as possible. The information provided by respondents is protected by law and NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified.
* USDA will release the survey results on two dates. Upcoming NASS reports, based on data gathered from these surveys, are: the Acreage report, Grain Stocks report, and Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will be released on June 29; the Cattle inventory report will be released on July 20. This survey data also contributes to NASS's monthly Crop Production reports and the USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. All reports are available on the NASS web site at www.nass.usda.gov.
For more information on NASS surveys and reports, Thessen encourages you to call the NASS Iowa field office at 800-772-0825.