On August 10th at noon ET, the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service ("NASS") will release its updated crop production report. The August report is often considered the most climactic event of the reporting season, due to the comprehensive look at crop trends in the U.S. and worldwide. As opposed to the May, June and July USDA WASDE reports, the August NASS is the first report of the year to feature survey-based yield and production forecasts.
Survey-based reports can provide a valuable, ground-level perspective on crop performance by incorporating farmer insights. However, surveys are also vulnerable to decreased accuracy due to lack of participation. Farmers are understandably concerned about protecting their individual data and are often reluctant to hand over their personal information to government agencies; as a result, participation has fallen from >80% in the 1990s to below 60% today. Higher participation rates are important because outlier estimates are more likely to cancel each other out, leading to a more accurate average.
In 2017, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine suggested that NASS should incorporate different sources of information, such model-based predictions and satellite data, in order to correct for reduced survey participation and potential bias.
Here at TellusLabs, our Kernel product is using satellite and weather based models to publish daily forecasts of end-of-season yield for US corn, soy and spring wheat (forecasts that have been earlier and more accurate than the USDA for two years in a row). Sign up here for a free demo and trial of this software!