Uncertainty over crop data
Coming in at number six in the rankings of most popular stories was a piece on the September WASDE report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasting a decline in US corn production based on lower yields. It saw soybean production estimates also going lower based on a reduction in expected yield per acre.
However, there was noted uncertainty around the crop production numbers released, with a crop yield forecast from Indigo Agriculture not tallying with the data in the USDA outlook.
Indigo gathers the data used in its crop reports in a different manner than the USDA, said Barclay Rogers, VP of business development for GeoInnovation at Indigo. The company uses a “living map” of agricultural land developed using modeling, big data, satellite imagery and machine learning to understand how much land is being used for different crops and what the likely yields are.
“This is big data meets agriculture in a very real way,” he told FeedNavigator. “It comes back to if you compare the USDA approach – and we have no criticism of that - it’s a very valid methodology that they’ve employed for a long time – but it’s a very different way of doing it compared to what we’re doing.”
“We’re essentially looking at every acre of corn in America every day, and using these big data processes to inform what the likely yield is across the nation,” he said