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 Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>