Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

USDA forecasts still accurate, but with room for improvement

09.05.2005


A study of the USDA’s corn and soybean production forecasts over a 34-year period concludes that such projections "perform reasonably well in generating crop production forecast for corn and soybeans." Still, the study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, finds room for improvement.



"In particular, the USDA may want to consider expanding the scope of the subjective yield surveys to incorporate a wider range of market and industry participants," said Darrel Good, U of I Extension marketing specialist and professor of agricultural and consumer economics, who co-authored the study with his colleague, Scott Irwin.

The complete study may be read online at: www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/agmas/reports/05_03/AgMAS05_03.html on Extension’s farmdoc website.


Good and Irwin undertook the study based on comments from producers and others that suggested an ongoing misunderstanding of the USDA’s methodology for arriving at corn and soybean production forecasts. They compared the USDA’s forecasts to private forecasts and the final estimates at the end of each crop year. "We want to improve the understanding of USDA crop forecasting methods, performance and market impact," explained Good.

For corn and soybeans, the USDA releases production forecasts in August, September, October, and November, with final estimates published in January. These forecasts are generated by a highly sophisticated and well-documented procedure that includes estimates of planted and harvested acreage and two types of yield indications, a farmer-reported survey, and objective measurements. "Our review of the USDA’s forecasting procedures and methodology confirmed the objectivity and consistency of the forecasting process over time," said Good.

The researchers also compared the USDA’s forecasts to those produced by private sources over the 1970-2004 period. "On average, USDA corn production forecasts were more accurate than private market forecasts during this period," said Good. "One exception was the August forecast in the most recent time period, 1985-2004. Since the mid-1980s, private market forecasts have been more accurate by an average of 0.5 percentage points in absolute terms, not an inconsequential difference. This reflects a sharp improvement in August private sector forecast accuracy relative to the USDA over the last three decades."

The forecasting comparisons for soybeans were somewhat sensitive to the measure of forecast accuracy considered, Good noted. "One measure showed that private market forecasts were more accurate than USDA forecasts for August regardless of the time period considered. Another measure showed just the opposite," he said. "As the growing season progresses, the difference in the results across the two measures of forecast accuracy diminished, with USDA forecast errors in soybeans about equal to or smaller than private market errors for September, October, and November."

In terms of market impact, USDA corn production forecasts had the largest impact on corn futures prices in August and recent price reactions have been somewhat larger than historical reactions. Similar to corn, USDA soybean production forecasts had the largest impact on soybean futures prices in August with recent price reactions appearing somewhat larger than in the past.

"Overall, the forecasting performance of the USDA in 2004 relative to the private market was quite strong in corn, with the USDA providing more accurate forecasts of corn production in 2004 each month except September," Good noted. "The forecasting performance of the USDA in 2004 relative to the private market was, at best, mixed in soybeans, with USDA forecasts being less accurate than private forecasts each month except October."

Bob Sampson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>