Crops/Stocks (Agricultural Survey)

Crops/Stocks (Agricultural Survey)

The Crops/Stocks surveys are conducted in all states quarterly. The surveys provide detailed estimates of crop acreage, yields and production, and quantities of grain and oilseeds stored on farms.

Farm operations are selected from an area frame and a list frame to produce "multiple frame" estimates. Farm and ranch operators from the list frame are selected by size depending on the proportion of the commodities of interest the operation has in comparison with other operators on the list. The area frame sample is added to account for land not covered by the list frame. The sample targets producers of row crops and small grains and farms operations with grain storage capacity.

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Program Content

Operators provide data on the total acres they operate, acreage in each commodity of interest and amount produced at harvest. Grain and oilseeds stored are asked in amount stored of each grain or oilseed. Each state has a unique set of commodities asked depending on which commodity is grown in the state and at what acreage level. Commodities are collected according to their growing season. For instance, data for a small grain like winter wheat would be obtained in December, March, and June, to determine acreage, and in September to determine production. On the other hand, data for row crops, like corn, are collected in March and June for acreage determination, and again in December after the majority of the crop is harvested and the production has been determined.


Data are used by commodity markets, educational institutions, state, and federal agencies, farm and ranch operators, and others for market assessment, planning, decision making and ongoing research.


Crops/Stocks surveys are conducted four times per year. Farmers planting intentions are collected in March. Acres planted and acres expected for harvest are collected in June. Small grains acres harvested and production are collected in September, and row crop and hay production are collected in December. Information on grains or oilseeds stored on the farm for major commodities such as corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, barley, and oats are collected all four quarters, while specialty crops such as rye, flaxseed, rapeseed, safflower, mustard seed, canola, and hay are collected once annually in selected producing states. Other specialty crops such as sunflowers, dry edible peas, Austrian winter peas, lentils, and chickpeas (garbanzo) are surveyed twice per year in selected producing states.


Sample size targets are set for each commodity in the survey. The desired number of samples for each commodity are controlled with a minimum overall sample size. Total sample sizes range from about 65,000 in September to about 81,000 in June because the number of crops of interest varies between quarters. In the Crops/Stocks survey, targeting is important for the row crops and small grains stocks panels, for rare commodities, and specialty crops. Specialty crops such as potatoes, can also be summarized as a separate survey to meet earlier publication dates.

Data are collected for approximately two weeks beginning the last day of the month prior to the survey reference date. Modes of data collection include mail, telephone, Computer Assisted Telephoning Interviewing (CATI), and personal interviewing. Over 75 percent of the data are collected by phone and CATI.

Related Programs

Off-farm Grains Stocks
June Area

Last Modified: 10/19/2020