Lot of Holstein Cow eating in a milk production farm

Since about the mid-1980s, NASS has kept tabs on price reactions after crop and livestock reports. We have reactions for corn, soybeans, cotton and wheat crops, and cattle on feed, hogs and pigs, and milk production.

We calculate commodity prices one day after and one week after reports, including the number of times prices increased, remained unchanged and decreased. For each of those fluctuations, we’ve noted the value of how much it changed.

Would you be surprised to hear that prices don’t always drop? It’s not uncommon to hear farmers say the crop reports negatively impact prices, when in fact, it’s just about even across the board with the number of times prices have gone up or down.

But besides that, what is the value of knowing a history of price reactions? It can be useful to understand the relative changes over time, and farmers can decide to sell crops or livestock or keep until after reports come out.

NASS reports, of course, are not solely responsible for changes to prices. The price level for any commodity can potentially be affected by other information available to the market at that time but ultimately is determined by supply and demand. Price reactions might be a reaction to what people thought was going to be in the report.

Another example of price reactions not necessarily responding to reports is weather. With the forecasts for grains in August, if there’s a weather event in the preceding day or two, it’s possible the market reacts to that event, rather than the actual numbers coming out in the crop report.

No matter how the market fluctuates, NASS’s mission of providing timely, accurate, unbiased data continues. We’ll keep highlighting the impacts of that data on farmers, farm operations, and the agricultural community.

All NASS reports are available at nass.usda.gov.

Herman Ellison is the state statistician at the Virginia Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

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