As corn and soybean harvest accelerates in the Midwest, most production attention is focused on yield reports.  

Still, according to a University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good, last week’s report of planted acreage from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) leaves some uncertainty about the magnitude of planted and harvested acreage of those crops.

“For corn, acreage that had been reported to FSA as planted totaled 91.428 million, 2.657 million more than reported the previous month,” he said.


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Based on survey data, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has estimated planted acreage at 97.379 million acres. Acreage reported to FSA is expected to be less than the NASS estimate, because not all producers are enrolled in programs that require reporting of planted acreage to the FSA.

Planted acreage reported to FSA as of the September report accounted for 93.9 percent of the total estimated by NASS and the difference was 5.951 million acres.

Over the previous six years, the final total corn acreage reported to FSA averaged 96.9 percent of the final NASS estimate, in a range of 96.4 to 97.5 percent. The difference between the FSA and NASS acreage estimates averaged 2.785 million acres, in a range of 2.381 in 2007 to 3.295 million in 2011. 


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“Recent history suggests that the difference between the corn acreage reported to FSA and acreage estimated by NASS this year will be smaller when final estimates are available,” Good said.