The charts are created in the SAS software package using the Graph Template Language. The progress of the crop through each stage is shown as a percentage in the lower third of the graphic. Condition ratings are shown in the middle part of the graphic and the sum of good plus excellent condition for the current year and the previous four years are shown in the top third. This product is generated in most states and will include the major commodities reported in each state. Separate pages are embedded in the .PDF file, in alphabetical order, for each commodity.
The crop progress percent values show the cumulative progress for each crop at key stages and are identical to the published values. The crop condition are stacked and always sum to 100. Current year progress lines are identified by the bold lines, the previous year progress lines are dashed , and the previous 5-year averages are identified by the dotted lines. All charts for a particular growing season are standardized using the same range of dates to facilitate the comparison of progress and condition for different crops grown during the same season. A vertical dashed reference line through all three charts identifies the most recent week ending crop progress reference date.
All charts across all years have been standardized to the same range of dates to make comparisons between crops and years easier.
The following is taken from a Crop Progress report and describes how the crop weather data are generated:
Crop Progress and Condition Survey and Estimating Procedures Survey Procedures: Crop progress and condition estimates are based on survey data that are collected each week from early April to the end of November. The Crop progress and condition surveys are non-probability surveys that include a sample of more than 5,000 reporters whose occupations provide them opportunities to make visual observations and frequently bring them in contact with farmers in their counties. Based on standard definitions, these reporters subjectively estimate progress of farmers’ activities and progress of crops through their stages of development. They also provide subjective evaluations of crop conditions.
Most reporters complete their questionnaire on Friday or early Monday morning and submit it to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Field Office in their State by mail, telephone, fax, e-mail, or through a secured internet website. A small number of reports are completed on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Regardless of the time that the questionnaire is completed, reporters are asked to report for the week ending on Sunday. For reports submitted prior to the Sunday reference date, a degree of uncertainty is introduced into the projections for weekend progress and crop condition changes. By the end of the 2001 season, nearly two-thirds of the data were being submitted through the internet website. As a result, about one-half of all data are submitted on Monday morning, which has significantly reduced this projection uncertainty.
Reporters are sent written reporting instructions at the beginning of each season and are contacted periodically to ensure proper reporting. Terms and definitions of crop stages and condition categories that are used as reporting guidelines are available here.
Estimating Procedures: Reported data are reviewed for reasonableness and consistency by comparing with data reported the previous week and data reported in surrounding counties for the current week. Each State Field Office summarizes the reported data to district and State levels, weighting each county’s reported data by NASS county acreage estimates. Summarized indications are compared with previous week estimates, and progress items are compared with earlier stages of development and historical averages to ensure reasonableness. Weather events and reporter comments are also taken into consideration. State estimates are submitted to the Agricultural Statistics Board (ASB) along with supporting comments, where they are compared with surrounding States and compiled into a National level summary by weighting each State by its acreage estimates.
Revision Policy: Progress and condition estimates in the "Crop Progress" report are released after 4:00 pm ET on the first business day of the week. These estimates are preliminary and subject to corrections or updates in the “Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin” National Summary that is released after 12:00 pm ET on the second business day of the week. These estimates are then subject to revision the following week.
Last modified: 10/28/10