U Of Illinois Economist Scott Irwin On Reliability Of USDA’s Crop Forecasts

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The accuracy of 2019 USDA corn and soybean projection reports remains a controversial topic for farmers and analysts.

University of Illinois Ag Economist Scott Irwin tells Brownfield,

“I do believe that the USDA numbers were right, and I think that those numbers should be considered the best available at the present time.”

Iwrin says his own projections for 2019 were off and he understands why the USDA was being questioned. Between delayed planting, adverse weather conditions and potential trade aid….

“Everybody was scrambling to try to figure out what was really going on in the field.”

Irwin says he has records that measure the difference between what the market expected and what the USDA announced dating back to 1965. He says the August 2019 USDA crop production report was by far the biggest bearish surprise he has on record.

Fellow Illinois economist Gary Schnitkey says other sources like Indigo Ag were still farther from true numbers than the USDA.

“They (Indigo Ag) are using satellite imagery, weather models, machine learning and all of those things, but the USDA still has more information that they can bring to bear.”

Brownfield interviewed Irwin and Schnitkey at the 2019 Illinois Farm Economics Summit in Mt. Vernon.

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