Yield Model Commentary Archive

Archive of our weekly commentary on our US corn yield model forecast

07 November 2017

Since our last commentary, our 2017 US corn yield forecast has continued to update daily on our data platform, Gro. Below is an update on its weekly progress:

Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast Has Continued to Rise
13 October 2017

The Gro Intelligence US corn yield model estimate has dropped slightly again from 172.7 bu/ac (or 10.84 t/ha) to 172.6 bu/ac (or 10.83 t/ha). USDA validated the model’s bearish tendency in yesterday’s WASDE. Knowing our model as we do, we don’t expect any further significant changes in our estimate. Therefore, we will end this series of comments for 2017, barring an unexpectedly large change in the model estimate or some other notable event.

Thank you for your interest in Gro’s US corn yield model. The estimate will continue to update daily on our data platform. Subscribers currently have access to an Argentine soy model built with the same methodology. They will also see our forthcoming machine-learning-based models of other interesting area/crop combinations. Please don’t hesitate to post on our yield model forum with any questions or contact us at yieldmodel@gro-intelligence.com if you’re interested in learning more about our forecasts or data platform.

Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast at 172.6
04 October 2017

[October 12, 2017 Update]

We’re gratified to see the USDA’s corn yield estimate move up 70 percent of the way to our lonely outlier call of 172.7 bu/ac. In today’s WASDE report, yield moved up from 169.9 to 171.8. The highest trade estimate was 171.5, and the average was 170.1. Looking forward, our bearish call stands, as we’re still 0.9 bu/ac higher than the USDA. It almost goes without saying that we’re proud of our model and think it has performed very well in its second live year.

USDA's Forecast Catches up to Gro's
—

[October 4, 2017 Commentary]

The Gro Intelligence US corn yield model estimate has fallen slightly for the second week in a row, from 172.9 bu/ac (or 10.85 t/ha) to 172.7 bu/ac (or 10.84 t/ha). The model is likely to be stabilizing near its final value for the year, since satellite greenness indicators have peaked and harvest is well under way. Our estimate remains significantly higher than USDA’s and the general trade consensus. The model is therefore bearish on prices, expecting another increase in USDA’s yield at the 12 October World Agricultural Supply/Demand Report (WASDE). While our model will continue to update on our subscription-based software (Gro), barring an event of interest, we will issue the next and last model value writeup for 2017 after the October report.

Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast Stabilizes
25 September 2017

For the first time in nine weeks, the Gro US corn yield model’s estimated value has fallen slightly, from 173.0 bu/ac (or 10.86 tonnes/hectare) to 172.9 bu/ac (or 10.85). The change occurred due to similarly small changes in satellite greenness indications. This is effectively an unchanged result. Accordingly, our view remains bearish on corn prices, calling for a yield higher than either the USDA, the general trade consensus, or the long term trend.

Vegetation Anomalies in US Corn Belt
Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast Falls Slightly
20 September 2017

Gro’s US corn yield model has risen yet again, for the eighth consecutive week, to 173.0 bushels/acre (or 10.86 tonnes/hectare) from 172.0 (or 10.80). The main drivers again are satellite greenness indicators and crop condition scores. Other states are making up for increasing dryness in Iowa, as shown in the map of evapotranspiration (below). Somewhat uncomfortably, Gro has become an outlier on the bearish side at this point. It should be acknowledged, however, that our non-consensus bearish view before the September WASDE was correct.

Evapotranspiration Anomalies in US Corn Belt
Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast Rises Again
09 September 2017

[September 12, 2017 Update]

The USDA has come out with its September WASDE report, and it has raised its US corn yield estimate from 169.5 bushels/acre to 169.9. This flew in the face of an average trade expectation of 168.2, but moved USDA closer to Gro’s 172 bushels/acre. Traders who acted on the Gro model’s bearish estimate before the report are enjoying favorable price action today.

USDA's Forecast Inches Towards Gro
—

[September 11, 2017 Commentary]

Gro’s US corn yield model moved higher for the seventh consecutive time over the past week, moving from 170.6 bushels/acre (or 10.71 tonnes/hectare) to 172.0 (or 10.80). Gro’s forecast is solidly bigger than USDA’s and above consensus trend yield. Satellite greenness indicators have passed their seasonal peaks in most of the Corn Belt. As a result, crop condition scores have become more important factors in the model. Increases in good-to-excellent ratings in Iowa and Illinois outweighed deterioration elsewhere. Gro’s model remains on the price-bearish side of the market going into tomorrow’s USDA Supply/Demand report.

Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast Moves Higher
01 September 2017

Gro’s US corn yield model rose again over the past week, moving from 169.9 bushels/acre (or 10.66 tonnes/hectare) to 170.6 (or 10.71). Now Gro’s forecast is solidly bigger than USDA’s and above consensus trend yield. The price-bearishness of the model has again been driven by satellite data showing greening in the Corn Belt. Unlike last week, which featured improvement in areas which had performed poorly so far, these were scattered around the growing region.

Crop Health Anomalies in US Corn Belt
Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast Advances Higher
25 August 2017

Gro’s US corn yield model jumped significantly higher over the past week, rising from 167.5 bushels/acre (or 10.51 tonnes/hectare) to 169.9 (or 10.66). For the first time this season, Gro’s forecast is bigger than USDA’s and near the trend. Most of the credit for the improvement goes to satellite data (NDVI) showing rapid greening of the South Dakota crop, which previously had provoked concern due to its poor condition.

Crop Health Anomalies in South Dakota

This development coincides with Gro’s yield modeler’s participation in the 2017 Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour. The Tour samples crops between Ohio and Minnesota on the eastern leg and between South Dakota and Minnesota by way of Nebraska on the western leg. Most crop scouts expressed surprise at the high yields they saw. Using the Tour results as input, Pro Farmer issued a national yield forecast of 167.1 bushels/acre. Formerly bullish scouts saw the number as bearish relative to their expectations even though it came in well below USDA.

Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast Jumps Higher
18 August 2017

Gro’s US corn yield model continues to edge higher as the price of corn moves lower. Our latest estimate has come in at 167.5 bushels/acre (or 10.51 tonnes/hectare), up from the 166.8 (or 10.47) issued prior to the USDA’s WASDE report, which was at 169.5 (or 10.64). Improving satellite vegetation greenness images (NDVI) and improving crop condition scores have driven our estimate’s consecutive increases.

Crop Health Anomalies in US Corn Belt

Gro’s chief yield modeler will be working as a crop scout for the Farm Journal Eastern Midwest Crop Tour next week. For updates from the fields, please post questions related to the Tour in the Yield Model Forum.

Gro's 2017 Yield Forecast Edges Higher
09 August 2017

[August 11, 2017 Update]

Yesterday, the USDA released its August estimate for US corn yield at 169.5 bushels/acre, down 1.2 bushels/acre from the earlier estimate of 170.7. With market expectations near 166, and Gro’s model at 166.8, this number was indisputably bearish. Corn futures prices reacted by dropping 4% in short order. From this new lower price level, Gro’s model remains bullish, currently calling for a further 2.7 bushels/acre decline before harvest.

Gro's 2017 US Corn Yield Forecast Remains Bullish
—

[August 9, 2017 Commentary]

Gro’s US corn yield forecast stands at 166.80 bushels/acre (or 10.47 tonnes/hectare), up from 164.33 (or 10.31) last week and just in time for the important August 10th USDA report tomorrow. The increase in our forecast was mainly driven by signals indicating stronger crop health across the US Corn Belt.

Gro's 2017 US Corn Yield Forecast Continues to Increase

Our model’s increase flies in the face of declining condition averages, and probably means that our yield estimate is now higher than trade opinion for the first time this year. We believe that the majority of corn market participants use a simple linear method for estimating yield using the percent good-to-excellent conditions survey number as input. While Gro’s model takes the surveys into account, it is one of several signals used in our model.

Crop Health Anomalies in US Corn Belt

This puts our model in an unclear status, neither particularly bullish nor bearish right now, since we are still below the USDA’s current number, but above the trade opinion. Our trading advice for the report at 1200 EDT on 10 August: bearish if USDA yield is above our number (166.80), bullish if it’s below, very bullish if below 163.

2017 Corn Conditions Sink Below Previous Years
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