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USDA to begin 2009 assessment of wheat production


What was the impact of the freeze on Oklahoma's wheat crop? What is the position of hay stocks? The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service is preparing for the upcoming small grain and hay forecast season.

The nation's first wheat production estimate will be released on May 12 in the Crop Production report.

"That report will include the number of wheat acres harvested for grain in Oklahoma, along with the forecasted yield and production data compiled from two sources," said Oklahoma's NASS State Director Wilbert Hundl Jr. "One indication is provided by the farmer's expectation of yield during a brief telephone survey (beginning in May and continuing each month until their crop acreage is harvested and the final yield is recorded). The other indication comes from objective yield plots in sampled fields; producers selected for this survey only provide an initial interview, and then give (USDA-NASS) permission to set out a wheat plot which measures the progress and condition of the crop throughout its phenological stages."

"During the next few weeks, field representatives from the Oklahoma Field Office will be contacting operators across the state's wheat-grain regions to establish which fields are selected for the wheat plots," he said.

Those producers selected for the telephone survey will have the option of responding by phone or over the Internet by following the instructions mailed to them.

"Oklahoma farmers that participate in this survey will provide important information to the wheat industry and to U.S. agriculture as a whole," Hundl said. "Their responses will be compiled with those of their fellow producers to provide an aggregated state and national estimate of wheat production."

The information provided by producers is critical in assessing the potential of Oklahoma's wheat crop, Hundl explained. "And there is no better source for this information than the producer who is at the field level from day to day. These data are collected from producers in service to producers, and NASS is merely the messenger providing that service."

Hundl noted that, the Federal law Title 7, U.S. Code, Section 2276, and the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act, require NASS representatives to keep all responses to these surveys strictly confidential.

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