USDA Data Gets More Subjective

This past April, we attended the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Data Users’ Meeting in Chicago. This annual meeting is an opportunity to get updates on recent and pending changes on the various statistical and information programs important to agriculture. The key takeaway from our perspective is that the USDA is going to be relying more heavily on subjective data – which should raise concern for anyone who relies on USDA reports for insights or decision making.

Here are 3 key points that support this conclusion:

  1. No More Yield Sampling in August. The USDA will no longer conduct its ground survey for objective yield sampling in August.
  2. Reduction in sample size for other field reports throughout the season. Yield numbers might be okay at a country level but the quality of data at a state level may not be as good.
  3. Survey response rates have been declining 3% year-over-year. With a steady decline in the number of farmers responding to the survey, the reliability of even the more subjective data might be low.

Relying more on subjective, survey data is of concern – especially with the availability of objective yield and satellite data. Tools like Agriquest® global monitoring provide access to daily satellite and weather data based on actual field performance. And, with its robust historical database, users can quickly and easily compare current growth and weather patterns to historical performance. Afterall, in crop production, the greatest indication of future performance is past performance.

For a limited time, you can put the Agriquest® tool to the test with your own operation. From May 15 – June 15, 2019 Geosys is providing a free trial program which gives you full access to the applications, comprehensive reports and weekly worldwide production overviews. Register today or contact us with questions.