Stressing over numbers


It’s a rite of spring that fits right in with the planters rolling across the fields…the weekly USDA crop progress reports. Before the advent of various social media outlets that allow producers to give up-to-the-second updates to the world, the only real outlet (besides the coffee shop talk) was the USDA report.

And these numbers were (and are) significant, since they can have an almost immediate impact on market prices.

But I sometimes wonder if we do a little too much worrying early in the season, and don’t fully appreciate the speed in which you can work.

Take this week’s report as an example.

The report does show that planting progress is lagging the five-year average (19 percent planted vs. the 28 percent average). And in more northern areas, where winter still holds its grip, planting is well behind the average.

However, look at the numbers in Illinois. The previous week, USDA pegged planting progress at 5 percent complete. This week? 32 percent complete, just a tick behind the 33 percent average.

Now I know a lot can happen in the coming weeks, and weather can wreak havoc on these numbers. But in a world of modern equipment that can cover a lot of territory in a short amount of time, planting can move along very, very quickly.

How is your planting progress?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *