How is the WASDE Prepared?
The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report is prepared monthly by the Interagency Commodity Estimates Committees (ICECs), which are chaired by the USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board analysts and comprising representatives from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Economic Research Service (ERS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is a primary source of data on domestic production. The nine ICECs- one for each commodity- compile and interpret information from USDA and other domestic and foreign official sources to produce the report.
WASDE provides annual forecasts for supply and use of U.S. and world wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds, and cotton. The report also covers U.S. supply and use of sugar, meat, poultry eggs and milk, as well as Mexico’s supply and use of sugar.
To ensure that the WASDE market-sensitive projections are released simultaneously to all end-users, and not prematurely to any one, the WASDE report is prepared under tight security in a designated “lockup” area of USDA’s South Building. On the morning of release, doors in the “lockup” area are secured, window shades are sealed, and telephone and Internet communications are blocked. Once analysts present their credentials to a guard, they enter the secured area to finalize the WASDE report. During lockup, NASS shares with WOAB analysts production data which they use to finalize projections. Lockup is lifted when the report is released at 12:00 noon Eastern time.
What information sources are used to develop WASDE projections?
The Interagency Commodity Estimates Committees rely on information from a wide range of sources across USDA and other government departments. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is the primary source of information on U.S. crop and livestock production and stocks, while information on foreign production is gathered from many sources including USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) attaché reports, official data released by foreign governments, satellite imagery, and weather data. U.S. agricultural trade data comes from the US Census Bureau and FAS. The Economic Research Service (ERS) compiles and analyzes information on domestic use, prices, and agricultural policy, and various types of data from the Agricultural Marketing Service, Farm Service Agency, the Energy Information Administration (within the Department of Energy), and other government agencies is also used.
This broad information base is reviewed and analyzed by ICEC members who bring diverse expertise and perspectives to the process. To arrive at consensus forecasts, alternative assessments of domestic and foreign supply and use are considered at the ICEC meetings. Throughout the growing season and afterwards, estimates are compared with new information on production and utilization, and historical revisions are made as necessary.
What do the commodity balance sheets cover?
The WASDE reports a full balance sheet for U.S. and world wheat, rice, and coarse grains (corn, barley, sorghum, and oats), oilseeds (soybeans, rapeseed, palm), and cotton. U.S. coverage is extended to sugar, meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. Separate estimates are made for components of supply (beginning stocks, imports, and production) and demand (domestic use, exports, and ending stocks). Domestic use is subdivided into major categories, for example corn for feed and corn for ethanol. The demand side of the balance sheet may include a category for “residual” or “unaccounted” disappearance to balance known uses against total supplies.
The WASDE also reports forecast season-average farm prices for most items. Prices tie together both sides of the balance sheet. Market prices aid in rationing available supplies among competing uses. The process of forecasting price and balance sheet items is complex and involves the interaction of expert judgment, commodity models, and in-depth research by USDA analysts on key domestic and international issues.
Where can I access historical WASDE projections?
You can access previous WASDE reports since 1974 on the archival site on Mann Library. However, historical WASDE projections are not available in a consolidated database. Historical on data on supply and demand of agricultural commodities are available on PSD Online Database.