So what can be done to disseminate better information with increased credibility? The researchers came up with 10 recommendations which they believe will provide for better USDA reports, and help the market better understand the process of developing crop estimates:
1) Provide monthly information about the exact process used to determine yield forecasts.
2) Review soybean yield forecasting procedures to eliminate the source of any bias.
3) Provide more openness about the formulas used for estimating crop yields.
4) Initiate a study about incorporating yield monitor data into crop estimation procedures.
5) For stocks reports, a specified weight per bushel should be used for on & off farm storage.
6) Review corn stocks estimation procedures to determine any methodological problems.
7) Add a question about on-farm grain stocks to the 5-year agricultural census.
8) NASS and the market need to better understand each other about stocks estimates.
9) USDA should evaluate the cost and benefit of adding a survey about ethanol use of corn.
10) USDA should evaluate the cost and benefit of adding a survey about corn feed use. (The economists said this is the single most important change that USDA should consider.)
After many years of criticism about the accuracy of USDA crop reports, recommendations have been made to not only improve the reports, but enhance the market's understanding of the estimation process. Researchers found little to criticise USDA about, however, believe that some changes could be made for the better, among them a better way of calculating feed use of corn and the volume of corn used for ethanol production.