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.

• Report: USDA Estimates

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

Precision AgUAS: The S Stands For Smart, Service And Sensors
May 1, 2014
The only thing occuring more rapidly than the technologies’ evolution is the clamoring to implement UAS into agriculture as soon as possible. Read More
Precision AgAg Retail: 3 Tech Trends To Watch In 2014
April 1, 2014
It's been a busy first quarter of technology developments in 2014. Here are some of the highlights, and things to watch in the months ahead. Read More
Valley Variable Rate Irrigation
Precision AgMaximizing Returns From Water Inputs
March 3, 2014
Irrigation manufacturers have developed some vital new technologies to fine-tune irrigation and save growers money, water, energy and labor. Read More
Todd Golly and UAVs
Precision AgReal-World UAV Experience In Agriculture
February 3, 2014
Minnesota grower Todd Golly shares his views on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Read More

Trending Articles

Green Valley Ag facility
Retail FacilitiesGreen Valley Ag Adopts A.J. Sackett’s Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology At New Facility
July 8, 2014
Sackett's Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology is making huge strides around the world. Green Valley Ag adopts the technology at its new facility to support its advancing agronomic needs. Read More
Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More

Latest News

HerbicidesWillowood To Market Glufosinate
July 28, 2014
Willowood USA recently announced that Federal EPA has approved its technical registration for glufosinate. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Scout For Corn Earworms In Corn
July 28, 2014
In her weekly report, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Jill Scheidt discusses what to look for when scouting for corn earworm. Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer, Weyerhaeuser Enter Technology License A…
July 28, 2014
The agreement brings together agricultural and forestry know-how to sustainably improve crop productivity for corn growers around the world. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Launches Global iPad App
July 28, 2014
The free AGCO Global iPad App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store and features the full family of RoGator self-propelled sprayers and TerraGator high-floatation spreaders. Read More
Eric SfiligojYuma Centennial Ag Supply Earns 2014 National Environme…
July 28, 2014
Colorado-based ag retailer receives top trophy in 24th annual DuPont Crop Protection/CropLife ceremony. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More