On Tuesday USDA issued a revised monthly crop report for October, something that Joe Prusacki with the National Ag Statistics Service says has never happened before. Prusacki briefed Ag Secretary Ed Schafer and other officials on the reasons for the complete reissue of the crop production report. It seems the acreage data on the Farm Service Agency mainframe computer system and the data being given to the statistics service showed discrepancies, which forced a revision of the report that was issued Oct. 10.
Compared to the Oct. 10 release, the corrected report reflects 1.2% fewer planted acres for corn, 1.4% fewer planted acres for soybeans, 1.9% fewer acres planted acres for canola, 0.8% fewer planted acres for sunflowers, and 0.7% fewer planted acres for dry edible beans. The report also reflects a 2.5% increase in planted acres for sorghum. Even with the reduced acreage estimates, the 2008 corn crop is still on track to be the second largest on record, while the soybean crop will be the fourth largest.
USDA revised the U.S. corn balance sheet for 2008/09 to reflect lower forecast area and production. Planted and harvested area was both lowered 1.0 million acres. Corn production is forecast at 12.033 billion bushels, down 167 million from the October 10 forecast. Feed and residual use is projected 50 million bushels lower at 5.300 billion with the smaller crop and higher expected sorghum feeding. Corn exports are projected 50 million bushels lower at 1.950 billion on tighter supplies. Ending stocks are projected at 1.088 billion bushels, down 66 million from the previous forecast. The season-average farm price range is raised 5 cents on each end of the range to $4.25 to $5.25 per bushel.
USDA also lowered soybean production figures. Planted and harvested area was both reduced 1.1 million acres. Soybean production is forecast at 2.94 billion bushels, down 45 million from the October 10 forecast. Soybean exports are projected 30 million bushels lower at 1.02 billion bushels reflecting reduced supplies and higher prices. Soybean crush is unchanged from the October 10 projection leaving the soybean meal and soybean oil balance sheets unchanged. Ending stocks are projected at 205 million bushels, down 15 million from the October 10 forecast. The U.S. season-average soybean price range is projected at $9.70 to $11.20, up 10 cents on both ends of the range.
Schafer was not happy that there was a problem, but said he was pleased with the way it was dealt with and that USDA is looking into the problem that necessitated the report revision.
"The issue was discovered, handled quickly and the new numbers represented and I think that in itself can build some confidence into the system," said Schafer. "When we get to the bottom of exactly why this happened I think we'll be able to see a system now that we can restore the integrity of real quickly."