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FEFO 10-11
June 4, 2010

WORKING FIELD DAYS IN ILLINOIS

The National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) regularly reports “days suitable for fieldwork”, hereafter referred to as “working days”. Evaluation of working day data from 1980 through 2009 indicates that there is about a 50% chance that any day in April or May will be suitable for field work, with slightly higher chances in northern and central Illinois than in southern Illinois. There is over a 75% chance than any day during September or October will be suitable for fieldwork. Significantly fewer days were available during 2009 than indicated by these preceding probabilities.

Work Days from April 10 through May 20

table 1

-Click images to view larger versions-

The 41 days from April 10 through May 20 th is prime planting time in most of Illinois. From 1980 through 2010, the average number of working days in the central Crop Reporting District was 20 days (see Figure 1), or 48% of the 41 days were suitable for field work. The highest number of 31.7 days occurred in 2005 while the lowest number of 9.2 days occurred in 1995. Working days equaled 9.8 in 2009, significantly below the average and the second lowest number between 1980 through 2010. Working days were slightly above average during 2010, with 23.5 days, or 3.5 days above the 1980 through 2010 average.

table 1

-Click images to view larger versions-

There is no correlation between working days and final yield. This was determined by examining number of working days and detrended yields (see Figure 2). Yields were stated in terms of 2010 bushels by calculation a trend yield from 1980 through 2009. This trend yields was 2.6 bushels, indicating that yields increased by an average of 2.6 bushels per year. The linear trend times the number of years from 2010 was added to the actual yield to arrive at the detrended yield for each year. For example, the detrended yield for 2007 is 201 bushels, which equals the actual yield of 193 bushels plus the 2.6 trend yield times 3. The 3 equals the number of years 2007 is from 2010. As can be seen in Figure 1, there is no correlation between yields and working days.

Work Days from September 15 through October 30

table 1

-Click images to view larger versions-

The 46 days from September 15 th through October 30 th is prime harvesting time in most of Illinois. In the central CRD, the average number of working days between 1980 through 2009 was 32.8 days. The highest number of days occurred in 1987 and equaled 41.2 day (see Figure 3). There were four years with over 40 working days: 1987 had 41.2 days, 1989 had 40.9 days. 1999 had 40.5 days, and 2008 had 40.5 days. The lowest number of days occurred in 2009 and equaled 19 days. The second lowest number of days was 21.9 days, occurring in 1983.

Chance of a Day Being Suitable for Field Work

table 1

-Click images to view larger versions-

Based on working day data, the chance of a day being suitable for fieldwork was calculated for all CRDs in Illinois. In the Central CRD, there was a 46% chance during April that a day was suitable for fieldwork. The chance increased to 57% in May (see Table 1 ). The other CRDs in northern and central Illinois have chances similar to those for the central CRD. CRDs in southern Illinois have slightly lower chances. For example, the East Southeast CRD has working day chances of 39% in May and 53% in June.

In the prime harvest months, the central CRD has a 77% chance of a day being suitable for fieldwork in September and 73% chance in October. Other CRDs in northern and central Illinois have similar chances. Southern Illinois has slightly higher probabilities. For example, the east southeast district has an 81% chance in September and 76 percent chance in October (see Table 1).

Summary

The above historical chances of having a day suitable for fieldwork are good gauges for the possibilities of field work during future years. To summarize, there is roughly a 50% chance of a day betting suitable for fieldwork in May or June and over around a 75% chance during September and October.

 

Submitted by: Gary Schnitkey, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois

 

 

Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics    College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
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