LandViewer predicts 13.3 billion bushel corn crop in October call

By Susanne Retka Schill | October 17, 2013

Genscape LandViewer released its October corn yield projection this week, revising its yield upwards to 13.3 billion bushels, which would be a 150 bushel-per-acre average national yield.

“Given the unusual circumstances around this year’s growing season, we feel our NASA satellite and big data initiatives are even more important,” says Dr. Steffen Mueller, director of spatial grain analytics at Genscape LandViewer. “We are back to our original prediction of 13.3 billion bushels, and we have the hard data to back it up.”

The late, wet spring in much of the Corn Belt meant part of the crop was planted unusually late. That was followed by unusually cool weather and then what has been dubbed the “flash drought.” The average precipitation across Indiana, Illinois and Iowa in August was the lowest since recording began in 1895. The September LandViewer report pegged the crop total at 12.69 billion bushels.

The satellite images of vegetation vigor showed the corn handled the drought better than expected and with no early frosts, a prolonged fall and ideal temperatures, the late-seeded crops made positive progress. These changing conditions are reflected in the Oct. 14 projections from the LandViewer model  that now call  for a 13.3 billion bushel U.S. corn crop.

Mueller added that this number is still on the low end of many analysts’ projections. “There is a huge range in the various crop predictions,” he said. “A lot of the models rely on USDA data, which wasn’t available for a time. Ours is an independent model that is more sensitive to growing conditions.” Modeling has been challenged this year with the unusual weather conditions affecting crop development and government shutdown impacting USDA data collection and reporting. “There still is uncertainty where we’re going to end up,” Mueller said.

Thursday morning, shortly after government offices reopened, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service announced that the October supply/demand report was canceled and the next report would be released Nov. 8. “While the lapse in federal funding has ended, NASS has not been able to engage in the necessary data collection and analysis over the past few weeks. NASS is assessing its data collection plans and evaluating the timing of upcoming reports.”