The Crop Progress and Conditions survey provides frequent and timely updates of farmer activities such as planting and harvesting, progress of crops through various phenological stages of development, and crop condition ratings throughout the growing season.
All states participate in the survey. Each state maintains a list of reporters, largely extension agents and Farm Service Agency staff, who report progress and conditions of selected crops in their area for the current week. Nearly every county in every state has at least one reporter. Reports returned each week account for over 75 percent of the acreage for major commodities.
The Crop Progress report is released at 4:00 PM on the first business day of each week from April 1 to November 30. Each issue has crop progress tables for major crops and may have as many as 11 crop condition tables, depending on the time of year. Each progress table lists the current week, previous week, previous year, and 5 year average for selected states and the U.S. The condition tables list the percent rated very poor, poor, fair, good, and excellent for the selected states and the U.S. Printed copies of the report are distributed to representatives of the media and agribusiness. The report is also loaded to the NASS website for access by the general public and is available via e-mail subscription. In addition, several graphics are created from the progress and condition tables and these are loaded to the internet as well. In addition to the national Crop Progress report, each state office publishes a state release. Users may subscribe and receive a mail version of a state=s release or access the state releases from the state office websites. States also produce condensed summaries which are merged together and published on the NASS internet website on the second business day each week.
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There are two types of questions, crop progress and crop conditions. Reporters are asked to respond as of Sunday. Crop progress questions ask reporters to estimate the percent of a particular crop that is at or beyond a specified stage of development. Progress questions are grouped into two categories, human activity and phenological development. Human activity includes field tillage, spraying, planting, cultivating, harvest, pruning, etc. Phenological development includes crop emergence, maturation, and various reproductive stages. Crop condition questions ask reporters to estimate the percent of a particular crop that is in each of five condition categories ranging from very poor to excellent.
State and U.S. level progress and condition estimates are used by producers, agribusinesses, and traders to assess current growing conditions in order to reduce or eliminate inherent risks of doing business. Other users include federal, state, and local government agencies, educational institutions, agricultural economists, and others for planning, decision making, and research.
Crop progress surveys are conducted weekly from early April until late November. From December through March, field offices report on agricultural activities monthly.
Data are collected through several modes. Reporters responding by mail complete the questionnaire on Friday and mail it back to the state office for inclusion in the summary the following Monday. The most common mode of data collection is through a secured internet site. Reporters are given a user ID and password that allows them access to the site and report as late as Monday morning. Some states collect data by phone, also on Monday. Some reports are submitted by facsimile and a few are sent by e-mail. All reports are processed by mid-day Monday and states submit their results to Headquarters by early afternoon. The official report must be prepared by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
During the winter months, no formal survey is conducted. Field offices track farm activities during routine contacts within the industry. Each month, a summary report is submitted in advance of the Crop Production report.
For major commodities, graphs are created that compare the accumulated progress through a particular phenological stage for the current year to the accumulated progress of the previous year and 5 year average. Weekly crop conditions are also graphed and compared with historical condition ratings.
The Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin, compiled and distributed by the NOAA/USDA Joint Agricultural Weather Facility, reprints information the NASS Crop Progress report.
Information from the Crop Progress report is also published in the monthly Crop Production reports in the form of crop summary narratives.
Last modified: 12/01/09
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