Changing expectations and uncertainty surrounding yields often result in large price movements and create a risky environment for processors, exporters, consumers, input suppliers, crop insurers, producers, and those with purely speculative motives. YieldCast™ reduces this risk by providing a subscription-based weekly report that forecasts U.S. average corn and soybean yields.
YieldCast™ forecasts are generated from multiple statistical models with a proven history of accurately capturing the historic and real-time relationship between weather, technology, crop development and yields.
Forecasts were provided for the first time on a real-time basis in 2010 with great success. The USDA’s final 2010 U.S. average yield estimate for corn was 152.8 bushels per acre, well below their earlier forecasts of 165.0 and 162.5 in August and September. YieldCast™ first signaled problems with the 2010 corn crop on June 22 and was nearly alone in forecasting a yield near 158 bushels in early August (see figure). The USDA’s final 2010 U.S. average yield estimate for soybeans was 43.5 bushels per acre. The difference between YieldCast™ and the USDA never exceeded 0.5 bushel from July 7 forward, and the final YieldCast™ forecast (see figure) was only 0.3 bushel larger than the final USDA estimate.
Despite notably hotter and drier weather in 2011, YieldCast™ forecasts were also very accurate. The USDA’s final 2011 U.S. average yield estimate for corn was 147.2 bushels per acre. YieldCast™ first signaled declining yields on June 28, was below the USDA each week into September, and was only 0.9 bushels per acre higher than the final USDA estimate (see figure). The early warning of problems led a customer at a large bank to write “I think it needs to be recognized that you guys were at the forefront of the declining corn yield story” on September 8. The USDA’s final 2011 U.S. average yield estimate for soybeans was 41.5 bushels per acre. YieldCast™ forecasts were very consistent from August through November and were within 0.6 bushel of the final USDA estimate from August 30 forward (see figure).
2012 U.S. corn and soybean yields were far below the long-term trend due to an intense heat wave and drought from mid-May through early-August. YieldCast™ first signaled significant problems for the 2012 corn crop on June 12 and its final forecast was only 1.5 bpa lower than the 123.4 bpa USDA estimate in January (see figure). YieldCast™ also identified significant problems for the U.S. soybean crop on June 12, but, importantly, remained above the USDA forecasts in August and September. This provided a ignal that the 2012 soybean crop had not been as badly damaged by heat and dryness as was widely perceived. The final YieldCast™ forecast in October was 0.5 bushel smaller than the USDA’s October forecast and 2.3 bushels smaller than the final USDA estimate of 39.6 bpa (see figure).
YieldCast™ forecasts are provided each Tuesday at 12 PM Central Time (1700 UTC) from April 16 through October 8 in 2013. An example forecast from last year is available by clicking here. Pricing for the 2013 U.S. growing season is as follows:
$3,000 for 1 license (person), or
$5,000 for 2 - 5 licenses, and
$1,000 for each additional license beyond 5
YieldCast™ is the combined effort of Mike Tannura, Meteorologist, Agricultural Economist, and owner of T-storm Weather; Darrel Good, Professor Emeritus, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois; and Scott Irwin, Professor and Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois.