The USDA: Lying Or Just Plain Incompetent?

Another thing that struck me on Tuesday, as I continue to pick through the small print of the USDA report, was the surprise increase in wheat acres.

An extra 1.137 million of them suddenly appeared from nowhere.

Of that total almost half a million were spring wheat acres, now that's a surprise isn't it because spring wheat plantings, particularly in the top producing state of North Dakota were famously running well behind weren't they?

In the March report, 13.304 million acres of spring wheat would be planted the USDA told us, now they say it's 13.772 million.

Now remember here that spring wheat is normally planted April/May, it is generally accepted that planting after May 31st is not a sensible thing to do. Also, May 31st is the cut-off date for claiming full crop insurance on any wheat that subsequently fails. In addition new crop beans and corn at the time offered some pretty fruity returns, so planting them instead was a distinctly viable alternative.

If we check back to 31st May we find that the USDA were reporting spring wheat plantings at just 89% complete. A week later they said 96% done. There are no more planting progress reports for spring wheat after the 7th June as it's pretty much assumed that if it's not in then it won't get planted.

Yet now we have the USDA telling us that not only did the last remaining 4% get planted well outside the normal planting period, but US farmers threw in another 468,000 acres on top of that just for good measure!

Additionally, these spring acres are only part of the picture, there's another 669,000 on top of that which was newly found this week. Where did they come from? The answer is 559,000 winter wheat and 110,000 durum wheat.

This stuff gets planted around September/October, why didn't they know it was there in March?