Tool Projects Crop Production

Lanworth combines frequent satellite imagery with intensive ground verification, knowledge of historic crop rotation and yield patterns, and computer-based simulations to project planted and harvested acreage and yield for corn, beans, and wheat in the U.S. and South America.

The Chicago-based firm provides clients — grain companies, ethanol companies, financial funds, large farmers — with biweekly reports, and it releases summaries to Bloomberg subscribers ahead of USDA’s monthly crop production report.

Projecting Acreage

Now in its third year of reporting, Lanworth begins developing its planted acreage projections in the spring.

“We have a fundamentally different process from anyone else, including USDA,” says Nick Kouchoukos, a geographer and Lanworth’s vice president of resource intelligence.

Rather than relying on farmer surveys or expectations based on market signals, Lanworth uses space-based satellite imagery, mapping the planting field by field, refined by the “agronomy side” and the “geography side,” Kouchoukos says.

The best predictor of what farmers plant is what they planted last year, Kouchoukos told DTN. “Farmers practice rotation for a very important reason — to manage limited resources. When USDA is surveying farmer intentions, we are studying rotation patterns (last year’s crops and rotation frequencies), and complex geographical patterns we struggle to understand.”

Lanworth’s third step in projecting acreage is ground verification. Field teams cover preset routes from mid-May to mid-June through major crop areas in major states. “They check to see if what we said was corn is corn, and we gather rotation information for the database,” Kouchoukos said.

As specific events occur — flooding or hail, for example — Lanworth teams resurvey affected areas to provide updates on those areas to clients.

Projecting Yields

Once the crop is in the ground, Lanworth begins its yield assessments. Lanworth’s methods in determining yields also depart from USDA and other private firms, says Corey Cherr, Lanworth’s lead agronomist.

Rather than starting with trendline assumptions and trying to account for the impact of current conditions, Cherr said Lanworth bases its forecasts on the way the crops work and the environment they are in.

“A good example is the record cool temperatures in July this year. It’s different than assuming a trend line yield and seeing where another year’s yields varied. We look for the biological basis for the trendline. In corn and soybeans, that comes primarily from duration of grain fill and resource capture. When you account for flowering and potential maturity date, you’ve accounted for trendline and potential deviation,” Cherr told DTN.

Some other analysts are using 2004 as a reference year, since there were cool temperatures then, too. But flowering that year was earlier, so the corn had more “resource availability,” and yields were not reduced the way Lanworth expects is happening this year.

“This year, the biological meaning of the cool temperatures is very different from other years,” Cherr says. In places like Iowa and Illinois, aside from the delayed development, light levels since June are down an average of 10 percent, he said.

Cherr said other forecasters make use of USDA weekly crop progress reports, but “from our approach, the crop may look good, but if it can’t put that into the seeds, yields won’t be any higher. … We use a fundamental understanding of how biological processes function” to estimate yields.

Results

Lanworth’s track record for 2007 and 2008 is pretty impressive. In 2008, for both corn and soybean production, for example, USDA estimates fluctuated from month to month, while Lanworth said its estimates were generally stable. By the end of the season, USDA’s totals for both crops were within one percent of Lanworth’s.

This year, Lanworth is projecting about the same split between corn and soybeans as USDA reported June 30, but Lanworth projected planted acreage for the two crops about a million acres less than USDA. Its production estimates in August were about 600 million bushels below USDA on corn and 200 million bushels below USDA on soybeans.

“We are not saying yields won’t be good,” Kouchoukos said. “We may be heading for the third highest yield on record. But satellites can’t see and condition ratings can’t say what the seeds are doing.” For that, Lanworth relies on a fundamental understanding of how biological processes function, Cherr said.

It’s important for risk managers using Lanworth’s data to realize the projections are for final totals, not the month-to-month changes USDA may make, says David Levine, Lanworth vice president of resource solutions.

But USDA’s monthly reports do provide hedging opportunities. “By understanding where the USDA will be in the future, relative to where they are presently, our clients find important opportunities to predict and monetize commodity price fluctuations when executing hedging, risk management, procurement and investment strategies,” Lanworth said in a promotional presentation Levine provided to DTN. That was the case this spring when Lanworth’s acreage projections proved to be much closer to USDA’s than the average pre-report estimates from other firms, Lanworth said.

Leave a Reply

6 comments on “Tool Projects Crop Production

  1. Are you looking for any people in east central South Dakota. I have a brokerage office in Redfield, South Dakota and we farm and ranch in Spink, Faulk and Hand counties. Please call 1-800-658-5448 or e-mail me.

    Thank You,
    John

  2. We have a small 3 partner commodity trading company that has dairy clients in 15 states. with offices in Spokane Wa , Wild Rose WI, Denver CO, Fergus falls MN. We focus on Dairy but do take position for our dairies on corn and Bean meal inputs. wondering what your services would cost? Our web site in http://www.kdmtrading.com 877-695-8538

  3. Are you looking for any people in east central South Dakota. I have a brokerage office in Redfield, South Dakota and we farm and ranch in Spink, Faulk and Hand counties. Please call 1-800-658-5448 or e-mail me.

    Thank You,
    John

  4. We have a small 3 partner commodity trading company that has dairy clients in 15 states. with offices in Spokane Wa , Wild Rose WI, Denver CO, Fergus falls MN. We focus on Dairy but do take position for our dairies on corn and Bean meal inputs. wondering what your services would cost? Our web site in http://www.kdmtrading.com 877-695-8538

Precision Ag Stories

Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Agriculture
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgSix Reasons Senior Executives Must Attend The First-Ever PrecisionAg Vision Conference
July 11, 2016
As I made a West Coast swing this spring to visit companies including The Climate Corp. and Planet Labs, there Read More
EquipmentSouth Dakota State: ‘All In’ On Precision Ag Education
July 6, 2016
Last summer, when we were in the midst of planning for our August PrecisionAg Innovation Series conference, we got an Read More
Craig Houin Sunrise Cooperative iPad
Precision AgState Of Precision Ag 2016: Gut Check Time For Value
May 31, 2016
There’s no denying that precision technologies and practices are more vibrant than ever. Equipment manufacturers have fine-tuned the hardware for Read More
Trending Articles
Southeast Farmers Coop - Finished Building
Retail FacilitiesNew Stueve Facilities Offer Ag Retailers Speed, Accuracy
July 9, 2016
Leading the industry in planning and constructing dry fertilizer storage and chemical warehouse solutions, Stueve Construction helped three ag retailers Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
FertilizerGypsum Added To List Of Conservation Practices
July 28, 2016
Crop farmers in a growing number of states may be eligible for financial assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Read More
Management2016 CTIC Cover Crop Survey: 33% Report ROI From Cover …
July 28, 2016
Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and—for the fourth year in a row—found Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesStudy: Fall Weed Controls Can Make Significant Impact O…
July 28, 2016
An article published in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science shows that adopting harvest-time and post-harvest weed controls Read More
InsecticidesSyngenta: Beware Of Early Stinkbug Threat To Soybeans
July 28, 2016
With the record warm temperatures this past winter and confirmations from early entomologist reports, Syngenta encourages growers to monitor stinkbug Read More
Peanut field
Crop InputsVerdesian Introduces New Inoculant For Peanuts
July 28, 2016
As planning begins for the next growing season, Verdesian Life Sciences adds Primo Power CL, a new liquid inoculant, to Read More
Soil Young Corn
Crop InputsSmithsonian: 5 Things to Know About New GMO Labeling Bi…
July 27, 2016
On July 14, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring large food companies to label products containing genetically modified Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesSpecial Issue Of Weed Science Explores Human Aspects Of…
July 27, 2016
Weeds that evolve resistance to herbicides are a serious threat to global agricultural production. In this Special Issue of Weed Science, Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100CHS Businesses In Washington, Idaho Combining For Great…
July 27, 2016
As full-service ag retailers, CHS Primeland and CHS Farmers Co-op collectively serve farmers and other customers in 15 counties in Read More
Storage Tanks at Nachurs
Crop InputsNACHURS Joins Field to Market
July 27, 2016
NACHURS announced today that it has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a leading multi-stakeholder initiative working Read More
Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Ag…
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
Kochia
Crop InputsNufarm Launches New Herbicide for Resistant Kochia
July 25, 2016
Nufarm introduces Scorch herbicide for U.S. farmers and ranchers combating a broad range of troublesome broadleaf weeds. A unique premix Read More
ManagementNew Rabobank Report Calls for Farmer ROI Focus
July 25, 2016
As U.S. row crop farmers brace themselves for a third year of negative margins, Rabobank believes farmers must lower the Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regula…
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More