Initial Satellite-Based Winter Wheat Forecast on March 24th
to be followed by Corn and Soybeans on June 2nd
BERWWN, PA, March 8, 2016 — Planalytics today released its 2016 GreenReport Crop Yield Forecast publication schedule for Winter Wheat, Corn, Soybeans and five other summer crops. This is the fourteenth year that Planalytics has produced bi-weekly, in-season estimates of crop conditions and yield potential that are based on satellite-derived plant biomass data.
“With commodity prices at some of their lowest levels in years, 2016 is shaping up to be another year of tremendous uncertainty for grain producers, buyers and traders. On top of that, speculation about the effects of a dying El Niño and possible transition to La Niña on crop yields is cause for further concern among our clients,” stated Jed Lafferty, Managing Director, Planalytics Life Sciences.
Since the late nineties, Planalytics and their strategic partners at TerraMetrics Agriculture, Inc. have used satellite imagery to regularly monitor and measure vegetative conditions across the U.S. The satellite “Greenness” images provide a continuous, consistent measurement of NDVI, an estimate of the amount of chlorophyll that growing plants are producing at a given point in time.
“By using satellite imagery to evaluate crop conditions instead of traditional crop sampling techniques, our crop yield forecasts can be generated up to two months before USDA’s official estimates,” adds Dr. Jude Kastens, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program (KARS) and senior analyst on the project. Kastens, whose family operates a 20,000 acre grain operation in western Kansas, continues: “Because these estimates are based on 1- km resolution Greenness images that are being acquired by the satellite on a daily basis, we can use nearly cloud-free composite images to regularly update these yield forecasts every two weeks throughout the growing season and provide insights into the effects of weather and other factors that affect production while there is still time to take action.”
Lafferty is quick to point out that their yield estimates are based primarily on modeled satellite data, despite the fact that weather analytics and interpretation represent key competencies of the Planalytics organization. “A typical growing season can see a roller coaster of weather conditions affecting crops within a particular region of the country, even down to the county and field level. But unless you have a widespread catastrophic event like the drought we had in 2012, it is hard to get an accurate handle on the overall impact of weather volatility. GreenReports give us something that we can use with our clients to assess the impact weather may be having on their business performance, and do something about it.”
Entering the 2016 season, Planalytics Greenness images already show that the winter wheat crop is emerging from dormancy earlier than normal due to unusually warm conditions brought on by El Niño and other factors. “Our March 24th winter wheat forecast will give us a better indication of crop potential than last year’s final yield or even trend yields can,” adds Kastens.
Planalytics GreenReport and Crop Yield Forecasts are available by subscription only. For more information, contact us here or at 800.882.5881, extension 926.