On June 28, the USDA releases its estimates of planted acres, as well as the stocks as of June 1. The report has the ability to be a market mover for many commodities. Among other things, Canadian Prairie producers will have a vested interest in tomorrow's USDA numbers which focus on the reports of planted acreage for both spring wheat and durum in the northern growing States. While the most recent crop report indicates that 96% of the spring wheat was planted in the U.S. as of June 23, the question remains as to how many acres did get planted?
The average trade estimate has pegged spring wheat acres at 12.12 million acres, down from March's estimate of 12.7 ma as well as below last year's 12.29 ma. The average trade estimate for durum has called for durum acres to drop to 1.66 ma from the March estimate of 1.75 ma and below 2012's acreage of 2.12 ma.
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The attached chart utilizes USDA data to indicate the percentage of the final harvested acres of both spring wheat and durum as indicated in January reports, when compared to the previous June planted acre data since 1995. Both North Dakota and U.S. data are presented. For both spring wheat and durum, North Dakota data is highly correlated to U.S. data due to the high concentration of both crops grown in the State. For example, the March Prospective Plantings report viewed North Dakota planting 62.8% of the country's durum acres and 48.8% of the country's spring wheat acres.
Over the 18-year period, actual harvested acres of spring wheat, as reported in January, represented an average of 96.3% of the previous June estimate for seeded acres for North Dakota, with the average for the entire U.S. at 95.5%. The largest variability in the spring wheat acres was seen in North Dakota numbers, ranging from 84.3% in 2002 (actual harvested acres estimated at 84.3% of the June planted acre estimate) to a high of 103.6% in 2012, with actual harvested acres actually exceeding the original June planted acre estimate.
When one considers the durum data, we see even greater variability in data. Over the 18-year period, the harvested acres as reported in January averaged 95.1% of the June seeded acreage for North Dakota while averaging 94.9% across the entire durum crop in the U.S. Again, the greatest variability was seen in the North Dakota numbers, where 2011 saw the harvested acres at 71.5% of the June planted acre estimate, while in 2005 harvested acres represented 108.3% of the planted acreage as released in June.
There are many factors that may lead to these wild swings in planted vs. harvested acreage, although this data clearly indicates the challenges faced in the collection and reporting of crop data.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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