Government shutdown delays key reports

Government shutdown delays key reports

USDA back up and running, but slew of report releases postponed until Oct. 31.

ALTHOUGH Congress agreed to an 11th-hour deal to restore funding and reopen the federal government last week, several key U.S. Department of Agriculture reports will not be issued, and others will be postponed (Table).

The October crop reports, which had been due out Oct. 11, will be cancelled, and the "Cattle on Feed" report that was due Oct. 18 will be postponed until the end of the month.

USDA employees, who were among the 800,000-plus federal employees furloughed during the shutdown, went back to work last week. For USDA's data collectors and statisticians, that meant heading back to the office with more than two weeks' worth of work yet to do, creating a major backlog.

The October "Crop Production" report issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the "World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimates" report issued by the World Agricultural Outlook Board will not be issued at all. Instead, USDA will work toward the November edition of both reports, which are scheduled for release Nov. 8. The October feedlot inventory report, due out last Friday, has been postponed until Oct. 31 to give NASS time to gather and analyze the requisite data.

Similarly, USDA will release its "Chicken & Eggs" and "Cold Storage" reports, both due out this week, on Oct. 31, alongside the "Cattle on Feed" report.

USDA said it would not issue the Oct. 7 and Oct. 15 editions of its weekly "Crop Progress" report, but the series will continue with the Oct. 21 edition as scheduled. It also intends to resume its weekly "Broiler Hatchery" report Oct. 23 and release the past three weeks of reports that day as well.

Perhaps of even greater importance to the markets is how quickly Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) staffers were able to restart the massive daily price, supply and demand reporting apparatus it administers, including daily livestock slaughter and price summaries. Absent those reports, the markets have largely relied on industry estimates and private market reporting services.

As of last Friday, AMS Market News reporters appeared to be back in the swing of things, publishing cattle and hog slaughter and price data as scheduled, although without the important week-to-week comparisons and without actual slaughter data for the days prior to their return to work.

Now that those workers are back on the job, the markets will start functioning based on more "normal" signals. Still, many market watchers and analysts wonder if the situation will repeat itself early next year, as the congressional fix was a temporary measure.

For the most part, though, the market will turn its eyes to the last two weeks of the month and a lot of important supply and demand questions that need to be answered. With a glut of critical crop and livestock reports now slated for the final day of the month, Oct. 31 could see the most USDA data releases in recent memory.

 

Upcoming USDA report release dates

Report

Original date

New date

Agriculture Prices

Oct. 31

No change

Broiler Hatchery

Oct. 2

Oct. 23

Broiler Hatchery

Oct. 9

Oct. 23

Broiler Hatchery

Oct. 16

Oct. 23

Broiler Hatchery

Oct. 23

No change

Cattle on Feed

Oct. 18

Oct. 31

Chicken & Eggs

Oct. 22

Oct. 31

Cold Storage

Oct. 22

Oct. 31

Crop Production

Oct. 11

Cancelled (next forecast Nov. 8)

World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimates

Oct. 11

Cancelled (next forecast Nov. 8)

Crop Progress

Oct. 7

Cancelled

Crop Progress

Oct. 15

Cancelled

Crop Progress

Oct. 21

No change

Dairy Products

Oct. 3

Oct. 21

Egg Products

Oct. 31

No change

Livestock Slaughter

Oct. 24

Oct. 31

Milk Production

Oct. 21

Nov. 1

Poultry Slaughter

Oct. 24

No change

Turkey Hatchery

Oct. 16

Oct. 30

 

Volume:85 Issue:43

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