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Watching what moves markets

Monitoring response to government crop and livestock reports helps with risk assessment and marketing plans

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It’s a fact — government agricultural reports can affect the market.

Those who follow crop and livestock markets often see the dramatic reaction these reports can have on prices, says provincial market specialist Neil Blue.

“The reports are usually the result of a survey of inventory, or of estimated inventory and estimated use of crops or livestock, or may be an estimate of acreage or production,” said Blue.

“Most government reports are preceded by estimates from private firms. Reaction from the release of the government numbers often depends on how those numbers compare to the range and average of the private estimates.”

Regardless of the eventual accuracy of these government reports, they are widely respected and therefore heavily weighted in the marketplace. Pre-report trading can push a market opposite the recent price trend and market reaction to the report can reset the trend for several days or even longer.

It’s good to keep an eye on them — even if you have no salable inventory — for assessing risk and planning marketing moves, he said.

Here are report release dates for some upcoming Statistics Canada and USDA reports.

  • July 1 semi-annual Canadian livestock inventory (Aug. 20);
  • Canadian principal field crop production estimates (Aug. 21, Oct. 2, Dec. 4)
  • Stocks of Principal Field Crops (Sept. 3, Feb. 4, 2016);
  • U.S. Hog and Pig inventory report (quarterly) (Sept. 25, Dec. 23);
  • U.S. Cattle on Feed estimate (as of beginning of each month) (July 24, Aug. 21, Sept. 18, Oct. 23);
  • U.S. Grain Stocks (quarterly) (Sept. 30);
  • U.S./world crop supply and demand plus crop production (monthly) (July 10, Aug. 12, Sept. 11, Oct. 9).

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