Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 26

What happened to week 25? Well I got caught up on some of my work tasks and fell behind. I'll be updating next week before the October 8th crop production report. I'll try to get the estimates out Monday afternoon and then later in the week add the trade estimates 'pre-USDA report'. I can see where generally my blog traffic comes from and I think the phrase in the content industry is that I have a dedicated (euphemism for modest sized) following.

I've heard talk of lowered corn yields and the condition information shows a continued decline in yield and production. The condition information starts to be colored by the actual harvest data as we approach the October report so we can see some volatility in the condition numbers even in these last few weeks. Currrent information suggests a downward revision in corn yields.

For soybeans I'm stable while the USDA continues to increase yields. This type of movement is often consistent with me simply being 'off'. I'm not expecting a big change in the USDA numbers but we will see.

For cotton yield and production have been on a steady decline for several weeks. I've done a much better job in cotton than in previous years. As some of you may know this crop was a primary motivation for me to revive and seriously overhaul the model by John Kruse. I'm not yet ready to declare victory, but I'll say early results were quite excellent, particularly in relation to the rest of the trade. Look forward to a few more updates next week before the October Report.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week 24 with USDA comparison

Let me start out by saying that I had a few conversations with people this week about my blog. I feel it important to note that while I am an agricultural economist, and I think the projections have been successful, I don't claim to be a professional. This was always an effort to show I could often beat the majority of trade estimates across all three crops early in the season while dedicating less than 1/2 hour a week to the task, including updating this blog. I hope you have all enjoy this but it is a hobby and isn't endorsed by anyone. Even I might distance myself from my soybean estimate this year.

I think I've tracked corn yields well this year. I'm higher than USDA on production and if I simply corrected the equation for harvesting rate in MN I'd be right on top of USDA for production as well. I tend not to make any adjustments to the equations at all but this one is a basic error and I may this week go back and adjust it.

For soybeans, I continue to lag USDA estimates. I think if you open the spreadsheet you can determine which states I'm the farthest from the USDA estimate.

For cotton I'm not on the low side of USDA but we will see where they end the year.

Harvest is underway so there are only a few weeks of conditions left. After October, USDA estimates normally change very little to the final estimate, so in October I can make a pretty good guess as to how accurate I may have been this year.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week23 UPDATE!

Someone was kind enough to provide the individual trade estimates so I've updated the graphs and some of the discussion for this weeks estimates to include the latest trade estimates, see you again on Friday.
Only modest changes this week. Conditions in corn, soybeans and cotton have not changed substantially in the last few weeks. While I am mid-range of the trade for corn yields, I have a bit higher production numbers which could be in part due to some over estimation of harvesting rates in MN (see below). I'm not solidly in the bottom 1/3 of the trade range for soybean yields and production as I've held my estimates stable but the trade has moved upward. Oddly, I am now on the low end of trade in cotton, which is definitely not where I started the season relative to the trade.
For soybeans, if you look at the spreadsheet, you will note that in the corrected model, I'm slightly lower on yields, but I'm also lower in harvested area. I need to go back and check to see if I'm making some error in a state on harvesting rates, but it isn't immediately clear to me where this mistake might be. For instance, in corn, it is pretty clear that my harvesting rate for Minnesota is to high. There is a fairly stable silage acreage and I've specified an equation which gives me a harvesting rate which pushes silage acreage to low compared to historical volume. I will need to look through the state by state harvesting rates to see where I might be coming up short on harvesting percentages for soybeans.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Week 22 spreadsheet with State by state yield estimates (3mb)