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Any recap of the crop reports has to start with a recounting of how the USDA again bungled the data release with computer servers that were seemingly unable to update the government webpages in a timely manner. Before the vast majority of people were able to access the numbers, prices changed quickly to indicate that at least some traders were privy to the information. It will warrant an investigation of who was able to access what and how, with suspicions that large speculators owning the best computers may have had an edge. Those who have invested in closer ties with the Cornell University website also look to have benefited, as the USDA partners with Cornell to archive its publications; the reports were available on Cornell’s website before they were ever accessible on the most commonly linked USDA pages. Some may even have been unknowingly granted a first look by the USDA’s livestream on YouTube before the government officials were aware of the “technical difficulties.” Whatever the timeline of availability turns out to be, the delays and unequal access of these reports will surely be judged by almost all market participants as unacceptable.   Both the stocks and acreage estimates were…

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