The heart of the 2019 US Grains season is rapidly approaching as corn and soybean planting finally gets underway in some parts of the Midwest.   The CropProphet team has been very busy for many months with preparations for the 2019 season and in this post, we discuss the updates and improvements we are releasing for 2019.

New CropProphet Logo

For 2019 we are excited to release a new logo that better represents the CropProphet brand.  You may have noticed that our website and product pages now feature this new logo.

CropProphet Logo
The new CropProphet Logo

New Model

Our forecasts performed very well in 2018 and CropProphet customers enjoyed enormous advantages over the vast majority of market participants.  But there is always room to improve, and we constantly strive to refine our crop forecasting capability.   Consequently, our scientists have been busy since Thanksgiving 2018 developing an improved crop modeling methodology.   And it’s more than just an incremental improvementSeveral aspects of the modeling [framework behind the product have been completely rebuilt with the goal of maximizing the value of the weather information contained in the 40 years of data we use in CropProphet. 

CropProphet corn yield forecast analysis
Backtests of CropProphet provide assessment of skill

The bottom-line result of the improvements is an approximately 23% reduction in our corn yield forecast error over a 33-year backtest history (as measured by Mean Absolute Error).  As always, we have taken great pains to avoid over-fitting, and we are highly confident that the improvement is robust and realistic.  Consequently, customers can expect significantly improved yield and production forecasts in 2019.

New Weather Models

Last year we spoke to a wide range of people and organizations while demonstrating the product and discussing the benefits of CropProphet.  The number one piece of feedback received was to enhance the product by adding the ECMWF model to our weather outlook component.   For those who don’t know, the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECWMF) forecast model is the most accurate model in the world and is widely used in energy and commodity trading markets.   Individual daily model forecasts can impact the price of commodities, sometimes on a minute-to-minute basis.  For 2019 we are including the impact of the 15-day ECMWF forecast model in addition to the impact of the 15-day U.S. GFS model forecast and NOAA’s 30-day CFSv2 forecast.  These weather model outlooks will provide a comprehensive view of likely future changes in crop yield and production based on the world’s best weather forecasts.

CropProphet will also be enhanced with more traditional weather forecast model analysis maps.  Users will be able to view the GFS, ECMWF, and CFSv2 forecast data, including temperature, precipitation, and other variables.

New Data Sets

For 2018 we released a data set enabling customers to quantify the performance of CropProphet for themselves using an extensive history of modeled daily crop yield forecasts.  As an example, below we show a creative illustration of 33 years of daily soybean yield forecasts.  For 2019 we have substantially enhanced this dataset by adding a more stringent forecast performance test to facilitate historical model performance evaluation.  The CropProphet “Modeler Option” is  a truly unique data set for customers seeking to quantify the performance of the crop forecasting product, particularly with a view to daily trade decision making.  We’re happy to extensively discuss these data sets with anyone seeking rigorous and quantitative model performance data – please contact us.

CropProphet corn yield art

Same Great Product

While the changes described above are actually quite substantial, we are confident that the CropProphet forecasts will be even better in 2019 and that the results will deliver even more value to our customers.   The core of the product and the familiar CropProphet web interface remainessentially the same. After months of careful planning and hard work, we are eagerly looking forward to success in the 2019 season.  And most importantly – thank you to our current customers and to our soon to be new customers during 2019.