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USDA corn and soybean estimates

Dwight Sanders, Darrel Good and I released a new research report on USDA corn and soybean estimates today. A summary can be found here on farmdoc daily:

The actual report is found here:

The report represents a year and half evaluation of the corn and soybean S/D estimates made by the USDA. While it is very long, I think the marketing community will still be very interested in the statistical analysis, evaluation, and recommendations. Since it is so long here are a few of the highlights: 

No evidence of issues related to USDA corn yield forecasts 
Some evidence that USDA soybean yield forecasts may have developed a conservative bias in recent years 
Ability of market participants to anticipate USDA corn stocks estimates has declined sharply since 2006 
All but one of the explanations we considered to explain problems with corn stocks estimates can be dismissed 
Explanation with most merit for explaining corn stocks surprises is unresolved errors in USDA January estimate of corn production 

Hope you will take a look at the report and we can start an interesting thread on issues that come up over and over on this forum. 

Scott Irwin 
University of Illinois

5 Replies
Veteran Advisor

Thank you!

Thank you so-o-o-o much for all your efforts, your post and your links!


I hereby rescind most, not all, of my negative thoughts about the USDA reports for all except annual January-March forecasts, and the year of 2012! 


Saving the entire report to read later, yet initial scan answers alot of questions, some actually in a positive way Smiley Happy.


Just wanted to let you know that your efforts are sincerely appreciated!

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Honored Advisor

Re: Thank you!

Scott --------- Read most scanned all 



The report spends a lot of time on "in season" estimates.  May -July and harvest ---Aug - Nov.


From May through July prior to harvest, the projection of domestic production is based on National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimates of planted acreage intentions and expert judgment about potential average yield. Trend yield analysis, planting progress, and crop weather models provide input for the average yield projection during these months. 


That term trend yield analysis reminds me of some testimony before congress.


I keep looking for the justification and explanation for the FEBuary through April crop estimates.  Haven't found it so far.


A little long but interesting.


Thanks Scott

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Veteran Advisor

Re: USDA corn and soybean estimates



As many have already mentioned, thanks for stepping in here and bringing some very interesting information with you. These are great marketing topics for this d-group. Keep it coming. And, if you want, just start a thread on the very numerous findings from the research, maybe a few a week. It would add value to our Marketing Talk section.






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Senior Advisor

Re: USDA corn and soybean estimates

Wait a minute, who you referring to as the d-group? Let's see here, Jeff calls himself the B-team, ECIN often refers to himself as the C-team, I guess that leaves the rest of us. LOL
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Honored Advisor

Re: USDA corn and soybean estimates

VVVeeee are D group.   Schultzy   Smiley Happy


Mike gave us a little "Hogan's Heros"  slam there.

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