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Unpacking the July WASDE

By Nitzan Haklai

Yield forecasts in the USA have been updated in the July USDA WASDE report (PDF). This report continues to be the main source of information that drives both commodities pricing and in-season business strategies for those organizations who service agriculture. While the USDA provides an important signal to the markets, it is missing the depth and detail of insight that affect the regions, counties and individual farms. Businesses serving farms – from equipment, seed and chemical vendors, to regional elevators and transport to lenders, brokers and traders – all need to understand how the national trends detailed by the USDA come to life in their local areas.   

At CIBO, our mission is to drive efficiencies in land markets by objective and transparent data. With our county-by-county, in-season yield forecasts for corn, soy and cotton, every registered user of the platform can dive into the details of the areas that matter most to them. Registration is fast and free for all users – start here. Registered users can also use these forecasts to compare and evaluate the performance of any field through the CIBO Yield Simulator. 

Let’s dive in together and explore how corn is performing at the county level so far this year.

Corn

Nationally, the July WASDE has average corn yields pegged at 178.5 bushels per acre. CIBO’s county by county predictions run the gamut from 228 bu/acre (Weld County, CO.) to 70 bu/acre (Kimball County, NE). Even more interesting to service providers, financing underwriters and others interested in yields are those counties with wide variations from the USDA predictions. Both Lincoln county, Colorado and Clark county, Missouri are predicted by CIBO to have substantially higher yields than the USDA. Meanwhile, CIBO shows that the 5 counties predicted to have the lowest yields vs USDA averages are all in Kansas. These counties, all affected by severe drought, are included in a primary natural disaster area designation by the Kansas Agriculture Secretary. The CIBO models correctly identified the likelihood of substantially lower than average yields without needing direct input from producers. 

Meanwhile, DeKalb county, Illinois –  the home of CornfestDekalb Genetics and Northern Illinois University (Go Huskies!) – has one of the highest predicted yields this year overall, but only slightly above the USDA forecast for the county. 

What County By County Detail Means For You

What does all this mean for regional elevators, transportation, crop insurance, FSA loan officers, or even people looking to purchase or rent new land (to name a few)? CIBO’s county by county forecasts give companies, co-ops and operators the best insight and intelligence to plan for business operations based on what is going on in their back yard. 

  • Elevators and transportation providers servicing regions with higher than average expected yields can plan now to add capacity.
  • Producers can seek early opportunity to lock in favorable pricing. 
  • In areas hit by drought, flooding or that have lower than predicted yields, lenders and policy holders can be proactive in their outreach. 
  • Producers that are able to keep their crops healthy despite county-wide designations can start planning on the potential of better local pricing against basis. 
  • Owners seeking new parcels to purchase can get historical performance and productivity insight as well as current-season insights. They can preview and select parcels they’re interested in and get owner information (owner data is a CIBO Plus feature and requires an easy $10/month subscription). They can also see predicted land value  – including lease values – for land they’re interested in as well as surrounding parcels. This lets them set competitive offers or prices with transparency and confidence.
  • Producers seeking new, nearby fields to lease can see what land is doing this year, including sustainability and regenerative practices and then think through how they might maximize yields in the next season. They can also get immediate land sale and lease value from the platform that they can use to negotiate the most favorable terms they can. 
  • Large CPGs and companies with a portfolio of producers can get at-a-glance visibility of how their sustainability, regeneration and carbon neutrality programs are affecting anticipated yields. They can show, immediately the positive impact it is having. 

This same process works in CIBO for soy and cotton. We are rapidly adding new capabilities and crops. 

How CIBO Accurately Calculates County Yields

CIBO forecasts are uniquely derived by a deep data-science based simulation technology. This approach enables us to take into account the different characteristics of every field and the potential effect of every weather scenario. As a result, our yield forecasts are not a “black box” outcome. Instead they are well-understood and transparent for users. Actual and forecast weather data are visible to users and incorporated into our modeling and prediction engine. Widely variable yields can now be understood, explained and evaluated in light of changing and unpredictable weather events. The effect of extreme and unpredictable weather has become especially important in recent years. 

Our unique scientific approach enables any user, whether a lender, an insurance provider, or agri-business or potential buyer, to better understand specific factors that impact the yield forecasts. They may then evaluate the risk and probability from a data-driven perspective.

Our county-level forecasts also provide a new source of information that can help to support decisions at an operational level. Just like any financial investor in the stock market, a land investor can now evaluate how the diversity of their land portfolio and find new land to enhance or mitigate differences in yield expectations. Elevators and grains storage manufactures can better plan their operations to address the different supply and demand needs on a local basis. CPGs and other commodity buyers can analyze their supply chain earlier in the season and plan ahead accordingly. And most importantly, the farmer doesn’t need to rely on rumors to have a data-driven view of his fields performance relative to his surrounding. 

CIBO is producing yield forecasts every month as a companion to the USDA WASDE reports. Our county forecast page will be updated regularly and the Yield Simulator in the CIBO platform is updated continuously so that anyone interested in land has the latest information and insight available. You are invited to use the CIBO county yields and parcel by parcel Yield Simulator. A free registration is all that is required. Get started now!

 

About Nitzan Haklai 

Nitzan Haklai is the VP of the Land Platform at CIBO, leading the company’s product strategy and Go-to-Market. She is an experienced professional in the food and agricultural industries, and passionate about driving tech commercialization in the Ag space. Before joining CIBO, Nitzan worked at Gro Intelligence, a VC-backed agriculture data platform, and Bayer AG. Earlier in her career, she led the Global Open Innovation Initiative at Adama, one of the world’s leading agrochemical companies. Prior to working at Adama, she served as a lieutenant at The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in the Israel Defense Forces. Nitzan holds an MBA degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree (LLB) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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