SPRINGFIELD – Enumerators representing the Illinois Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will soon begin collecting data that will be used to estimate the corn and soybean yields that Illinois farmers will harvest this year.
The Objective Yield survey consists of 280 sample plots of corn and 230 sample plots of soybeans that are randomly selected from fields across Illinois. Each month until plants reach maturity, enumerators measure and count the number of plants and ears of corn or bean pods in each plot. At maturity, samples of the crop are collected for weighing at the agency laboratory, which permits a more accurate yield determination to be made.
"Information collected during the Objective Yield survey is used to set monthly yield forecasts that have a far-ranging effect on agriculture and agriculture related industries," said Mark Schleusener, State Statistician of the Illinois Field Office. "Farmers, buyers, processors and grain-handling industries rely on unbiased and accurate predictions of supply to make informed decisions concerning marketing, product access and transportation."
The first forecast of corn and soybean production will be available Aug. 12. Monthly forecasts will then be updated Sept. 12, Oct. 11 and Nov. 8. After harvest, final production statistics are published in mid-January, based on laboratory weights of crop samples and a mail and telephone survey of producers.
The Illinois Field Office is the local administrator of programs for the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service and is a cooperator with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.