When the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a number of key farm reports would not be released today because of the partial government shutdown, the phones at crop forecaster Gro Intelligence were very busy, according to a report from Reuters.

Gro Intelligence has been offering free access to its data platform since December 27 and plans to release worldwide supply-demand crop forecasts today.  The company will keep its platform open for the duration of the shutdown, said Sara Menker, chief executive of New York-based Gro Intelligence.

USDA was set to release its views on the projected size of U.S. soybean stockpiles, among other data, following a record-large domestic harvest as well as the ongoing trade war with China that has slowed U.S. exports.

Commodity traders, economists, grain merchants and farmers are anxious for crop updates as they work to project their financial balance sheets as well as making spring planting decisions.

The partial government shutdown, now in its third week, has rippled across the already struggling U.S. farm economy ahead of President Trump’s planned address at the American Farm Bureau conference in Louisiana on Monday.  Federal loan and farm aid applications have also been delayed.

To fill the voice on data, traders and farmers are relying on private crop forecasters, satellite imagery firms and brokerages offering analyses on trade.  “We are just doing the best we can, looking for as much information as is available, said Brian Basting, economist for Illinois-based broker Advance Trade, which provides customers its own harvest and crop supply estimates.  “Everyone’s got their own internal  numbers but USDA is the most comprehensive data source,” Basting said.

Dan Henebry, an Illinois corn and soybean farmer, said the absence of USDA data was difficult.  “You delay all these reports and the market has no idea where to go, other than guesses,” Henebry said.

Farmers Business Network (FBN), which collects harvest data from 7,000 U.S. farmers, is set to release crop yield estimates today to members.  “The data is not as comprehensive as the USDA report would have been,” said Kevin McNew, FBN’s chief economist.  “At the end of the day, we still need a benchmark.  For better or worse, USDA is the best benchmark we have,” McNew said

While crops are not growing in North American during the winter seasons, traders are still looking for updated information from South America and other parts of the world where soybean and other crops are growing,  In addition, farmers still need information for creating contracts, new product lines, and planting acres.