Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Ministry of Agriculture or Crop Tour?

Ukraine’s Ministry of Agriculture are reporting that everything is essentially all good on the farming front this season.

The latest official statements place 88% of winter grains in good and satisfactory condition with 11.6% in poor condition and 0.5% dead.

Our recent Crop Tour of Ukraine called a slightly different assessment with 62% good and satisfactory, 34% poor and 5% very poor.

There are a couple of points to note here, first off, we might not be using the same criteria during our assessments; terms like poor, good and satisfactory are subjective unless supported by some sort of explanation.

I'm sure the Ministry have their detailed assessment criteria that allows all the Ukraine agronomists to calibrate their scores, I know we have.

We base our score on a number of criteria that together will determine the likely yield potential at the time of the assessment against the national average. 

Very poor will produce no yield or well below the national average; poor is likely to yield slightly below or at the national average; satisfactory likely to yield at national average; good likely to yield above the national average; very good will yield above the national average.

(Drop me a line if you would like a full copy of the assessment criteria.)

I have no idea how many people take crop scores for the Ministry, my understanding is they are required to be sent in from each registered holding which if that is the case means the number of people involved will run into the thousands.  

Each with their own slightly different interpretation of what is good, bad or ugly.  Plus no one likes to report bad news particularly if it is about themselves.

In Ukraine we took 289 individual assessments and 40 detailed appraisals which might not sound a lot but it was spread over an indicative area covering 2,300km and the assessment was carried out by two people rather than thousands.

I'm not saying we got it exactly spot on and the Ministry didn't but I feel more comfortable with our findings knowing how they are produced than broad statements issued from the Ministry.

We will continue to learn, develop, refine and improve our sampling strategy and at all times maintain our objectivity and independence.

Our second Crop Tour of 2015 to look at corn, sunflower and soya condition post planting is officially up and running and scheduled for the end of the month.

If you would like to subscribe and support our project drop me a line and I'll send you details.

More to follow soon.

agronomy.croptour @