May 18, 2018

Today, TellusLabs launched a set of wheat models for the USA, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, and Turkey. Wheat is expanding rapidly in both production and demand, which makes it one of the most valuable crops to track globally. These countries are major players in the wheat market, and are the most important areas to watch closely this Summer.


North American wheat mask for 2017


We are excited to announce our forecasted yields for wheat this year.

  • United States:  For Spring wheat, our model forecasts an end of season yield of 44.9 bu/acre. Based on the reported area planted of 12.6 million acres, this implies national wheat production of566.4 bushels.This is a 14.7% increase from 2017, where the final yield was 41 bu/acre. The USDA has not yet released its yield estimate for US Spring wheat.
  • Canada:  For combined Spring and Winter wheat, our model forecasts a yield of 3.73 MT/ha. The TellusLabs estimate is 12% higher than the latest May 10th FAS prediction (3.33 MT/ha).
  • Russia:  For combined Spring and Winter wheat, our model forecasts a yield of 2.85 MT/ha. The TellusLabs estimate is 2.9% higher than the latest May 10th FAS prediction (2.77 MT/ha).
  • Turkey: Our model forecasts a yield of2.54 MT/haThe TellusLabs estimate is  3.4% lower than the latest May 10th FAS prediction (2.63 MT/ha).
  • Ukraine: Our model forecasts a yield of 4.1 MT/haThe TellusLabs estimate is  3.5% higher than the latest May 10th FAS prediction (3.96 MT/ha).


As you can tell, TellusLabs predicts that it will be a strong season for Canadian wheat, but less so for Turkish wheat.  As the season progresses, our Kernel models will take more data into account and automatically update their forecasts for wheat harvests in each of these countries.


How do we do it?

Our data science team trains machine-learning models on historical data to forecast what we expect the yield to be this year. We take into account a range of factors, including weather, field conditions, and satellite-derived crop health, to make our predictions as informed and accurate as possible.


How do we ensure accuracy?

We backtest our models against historical results to evaluate their accuracy. By testing our models against known results, we can see how well they would have predicted past outcomes. We continue to refine our models to reduce our margin of error while using known techniques to avoid overfitting. We will only publish a model if backtesting suggests more accurate estimates than those of high-quality reference sources such as the Foreign Agricultural Service. (Learn more about backtesting from our previous blog post.)


Why TellusLabs?

At TellusLabs, we know that when it comes to actionable information, time is valuable. We provide daily data updates - a much higher frequency than monthly government reports. We use our proprietary predictive models to process large amounts of raw weather and satellite data to make high-quality insights and predictions readily available for our customers.

Want live access to our newest wheat models? Check out a free trial of our product, Kernel.

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