USDA officials are considering how or if to change the Department’s crop progress reporting schedule following expansion of trading hours by major commodity exchanges. 

The InterContinental Exchange, known as ICE, began 22-hour-a-day trading for some commodities earlier in the month, prompting the CME Group, parent organization of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), to begin a 21-hour trading day.

The Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBT) and the Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) have also expanded their hours. 

These changes mean all major exchanges will be operational nearly all of the time, potentially heightening market volatility, particularly following the release of USDA reports outlining supply and production estimates. 

The impact on wheat farmers is even more complicated to evaluate since most of them are in their fields, many participating in the earliest harvest in memory.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters on Wednesday USDA would seek input from all stakeholders before making any decisions and described any possible reporting schedule changes as “complicated.”

USDA releases reports nearly daily, though the market watches some more closely than others. 

The next round of the closely-watched crop production reports and the next edition of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) are scheduled for release on June 12.

NAWG will continue to follow this issue and provide input to USDA, the exchanges, their regulators and members of Congress as needed. 

(The National Corn Growers Association is seeking public comment on the change in trading hours. For that story, click here).