MIT Tech Review: Crystal Ball for Corn Crop Yields Will Revolutionize Commodity Trading.

June 28, 2017

TellusLabs is proud to announce the start of the 2017 corn and soy season for our flagship agricultural intelligence product, Kernel.  This year’s models are testing significantly better than the models that produced last year’s best in class TellusLabs predictions.

As of today, June 28th, our corn models forecast an end of season yield of 166.2 bu/ac, 4.5% lower than the USDA (WASDE) outlook from June 9th (170.7 bu/ac).  For soy, our models predict an end-of-season yield of 49.5 bu/ac, 3.1% higher than the USDA (WASDE) outlook from June 9th (48.0 bu/ac).

Weather conditions during the start of the 2017 corn and soybean growing season were highly variable, leading to substantial uncertainty in early season yield forecasts (uncertainty that was evident in our own models as well as others’).  Excessive early season precipitation, particularly in southern and eastern parts of the corn belt delayed early season fieldwork.

However, a two week stretch of warm and dry weather throughout much of the region allowed most of the crop to be planted with only modest delays.  Despite the slow start, conditions across the entire corn and soybean growing regions are now very good, with crop development and conditions only slightly behind the record setting year of 2016 and very much in line with the 2012-2016 five-year average.

As we head into July, plants are in their linear, rapid biomass growth phases, with many locations in the Midwestern US benefitting from more than two inches of rain in the past two weeks.  Current USDA crop progress reports, weather conditions to date, and satellite observations all point to strong, but not record-setting yields.  This outlook is confirmed by our latest model forecasts. It is important to stress, however, that it is still early in the season for corn and soybean growth, with several weeks remaining before grain fill commences.  In other words, much uncertainty remains.


Our job at TellusLabs is to manage uncertainty for our clients and the broader market. You’ll certainly be hearing from us (and Kernel) as the year goes on!



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