15 November 2018

The Gro US Soybean Yield Model finished the 2018/2019 crop year on a bullish note, with our yield of 50.6 bu/ac contrasting with the USDA at 52.1.  Our model uses numerous satellite- and ground-based data series to approximate the crop situation, but omits the survey-based and subjective elements of the USDA's process.

About the US Soybean Model

The US soybean yield model comes as the third machine-learning model Gro has featured on our website. Please see the following links for complete descriptions of the US corn yield model and the Argentine soybean yield model.

Buoyed by the successes of the first two models, Gro moved back to focusing on the US for soybeans. The estimation of the health of any crop in the US benefits greatly from the large and high-quality database that the USDA maintains. Gro’s US soybean yield modeling process ended up looking broadly similar to the one for the US corn model described above.

We found that a 50 year linear trend yield estimate gave us the best results. Once again, NDVI performed the best as a predictor of deviation from trend yield. Due to a significant geographic presence of the soybean crop all the way down the Mississippi River, soil diversity became more important than it was for corn. Soil moisture variables were also significant, supplementing the greenness sensors that detect soybean health a little less definitively than corn health. In a clear repeat of the corn model experience, we saw the largest average errors in our estimates in counties on the fringes of the belt that produced fewer soybeans.

Gro’s expanding suite of yield models can add significant value to any enterprise that needs advance knowledge of upcoming harvest sizes. They have worked historically as stand-alone indicators for trading and marketing decisions and as supplements or sanity checks for existing infrastructure. The far-reaching impacts of crop sizes in key country-crop pairs like US corn, US soybeans, and Argentine soybeans warrant detailed study along the lines of Gro Intelligence’s modeling. We strongly encourage all those interested in the 2018 US soybean yield to pay attention to Gro’s estimate and join our yield model forum here with any thoughts or questions.

Download our US corn yield model paper
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