One component of commodity prices for corn and soybeans during the growing season is planted acreage. Both NASS and FSA report planted acres. The data for these reports comes from two different sources. NASS surveys all corn and soybean growers in a statically designed procedure. FSA, since 2011, requires all growers enrolled in farm programs to report planted acres of program crops by July 15 of each year. Later planted acre reporting by farmers is done with a late fee. FSA reports planted acres monthly beginning in August. Due to COVID-19 the 2020 late fee has been waived for 30 days. This waiver might influence the 2020 FSA data series reliability until later in the summer. January of each year FSA publishes a final report of planted acres for the commodity program crops administered by the agency.
These different data sets and acreage reports, NASS and FSA, allows for analysis and comparison. U of IL Farmdoc Daily recently published such an analysis from Irwin and Hubbs. Not all crop acres are enrolled in USDA farm commodity programs but their analysis shows that the FSA reports from 2011-2019 account for just over 98% of the NASS final planted acres report. The Irwin and Hubbs analysis for 2020, indicates NASS probably have overestimated total planted acres while FSA reporting has been slow and probably under-reported due to COVID19. This leaves a lot of uncertainty, combined with the Iowa derecho, about total crop production for 2020.
Irwin, S. and T. Hubbs. “Using Preliminary FSA Data to Project Final Planted Acreage for Corn and Soybeans.” farmdoc daily (10):156, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 27, 2020.