The long-delayed release of USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates has resoundingly validated Gro Intelligence’s decision to produce its own version of the report. Out of 55 separate values that Gro published on Jan. 11 (last month’s WASDE date) and then updated on Feb. 7, we got the direction of USDA’s change correct on 51 of them … a 93-percent hit rate!
Gro’s releases have provided much-needed information continuity to the agricultural community during the unexpected federal government shutdown, demonstrating the growing value of the platform to market participants. Because Gro built our reports using advanced machine-learning techniques with satellite and ground-based data, this success also strongly validates the general idea of a sharply expanded role for data science in agricultural analysis.
Gro utilized a variety of global sources to inform its forecasts. Government data providers such as EMISS/ROSSTAT, CONAB and Ukrstat made timely updates that were incorporated into Gro supply/demand balances. The USDA made similar adjustments to a number of crops.
Gro Intelligence will continue to make its full product available for free until the US resolves its ongoing shutdown crisis. Agricultural market participants who haven’t yet signed up should go to http://www.gro-intelligence.com and check it out.
February’s WASDE report nicely validated Gro’s US corn yield model, which has been forecasting 177.4 bushels/acre since November. The USDA estimate, which stood as high as 181.3 bu/ac in September, was lowered to 176.4 bu/ac in February from 178.9 bu/ac in December. Similarly, the USDA reduced its US soybean yield estimate in February to 51.6 bu/ac from 52.1 bu/ac in December. The Gro US soybean yield model’s estimate is 50.6 bu/ac.
The following table details the crop/country pairings for which Gro provided estimates in its February supply/demand report, and compares those with the WASDE estimates from both February and December.