CME: USDA Announces Some Reports Will be Dropped

US - USDA has announced that it plans to reduce the number of reports it issues, eliminating some reports in their entirety and publishing others less frequently. The reductions are, of course, being driven by budget cuts in Washington and have been talked about in general for more than a year, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 19 October 2011
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This is the first time that specific reports have been identified for elimination or reduction.

The programmes to be eliminated are:

  • Annual Reports on Farm Numbers, Land in Farms and Livestock Operations - Eliminate
  • Catfish and Trout Reports – Eliminate all
  • Annual Floriculture Report - Eliminate
  • January Sheep and Goat Report - Eliminate
  • July Cattle Report - Eliminate
  • Annual Bee and Honey Report - Eliminate
  • Annual Hops Production Report - Eliminate
  • Annual Mink Report – Eliminate
  • Nursery Report – Eliminate
  • Rice Stocks June and September reports - Eliminate

The programmes to be reduced are:

  • Chemical Use Reports – frequency of commodity coverage
  • Monthly Potato Stocks Report – Go from monthly to quarterly
  • Fruit and Vegetable in-season forecast and estimates– Reduce from monthly and quarterly to annual report

And one programme, the Distiller Co-Products for Feed Survey is being cancelled — we presume even before it began since we do not recall every seeing any ongoing data on this subject.

Obviously, many of the planned changes have nothing to do with the livestock and poultry sectors. A few do, however, so we should consider the impacts their loss may have.

Farm Numbers, Land In Farms and Livestock Operations — This report began in 2005 when the Farms, Land In Farms and Livestock Operations reports were merged. It has contained only national data (ie. no state level data) for livestock operations by size for the past several year. While the structure (ie. ownership, share, size, etc.) of each sector is still changing, the pace has slowed sharply since the ‘90s.

January Sheep and Goat Report — While not a report (or sector) that we pay a lot of attention to, this change may be the final straw for sheep and goat information.

The July report was eliminated this year and we are not sure where the data for the sheep section of the annual Production, Disposition and Income report, released in April, will come from if this report goes too.

July Cattle Report — or Cattle Inventory Report as most people call it. This one would be missed some primarily because it gives us a mid-year look at the numbers of heifers being retained by both beef and dairy operations, the number of cattle in feedyards with less than 1000 head capacities and, perhaps most useful, the number of feeder cattle still outside of feedyards.

Distiller Co-Products for Feed Survey — We are not completely sure what this is since we can find nothing about it on the NASS website but we believe it was an effort to determine how much distillers co-products were being produced by beverage and fuel ethanol distillers and thus available for feed.

That is an item we do not know for certain at present. Most analysts simply use USDA’s annual corn for ethanol number to estimate a total annual supply or use the Department of Energy’s weekly or monthly data on ethanol output to estimate supplies over shorter runs.

Note that the data from many of the eliminated reports will be made available less frequently or within the five-year cycle for the Census of Agriculture. The next Census will be conducted in 2013 to reflect conditions in 2012.

Readers can get more information by contacting Sue DuPont at 202-690-8122.

Even with the recent rebound in cattle prices, feedlots are losing big money on current closeouts and projected breakevens for November now exceed $131/cwt.

Those are according to the latest estimates from the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver. September marked the fifth straight months of losses and losses averaged over $125/head. Note that these returns are for custom feeding that includes a daily yardage cost.

Some closeouts are better due to better quality, sound risk management practices, premiums for age– and source-verified cattle or cattle that fit premium marketing programmes

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