August 2020 U.S. Production Report

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August 12, 2020. Corn and soybean producers are nearing or at record production, according to Indigo’s most recent forecast report. For corn, the company forecasts yield at 183.2 bushels per acre (bu/ac) and area planted at 93.1M acres; for soybeans, the company forecasts 51.2 bu/ac and 83.5M acres. These forecasts are 0.8% above and 3.9% below the USDA’s August WASDE estimate, respectively. 

The USDA surprised industry analysts today with production estimates jumping 1.8% higher for corn and a whopping 7% higher for soybeans relative to July in an apparent departure from the USDA’s more cautious approach to changes. 

This year, favorable planting, along with sufficient mid-summer heat and pockets of rain, have improved the outlook for domestic producers dramatically – perhaps too good, given the decline in price. Unexpected weather events, like the high winds in this past Monday’s derecho, can still affect yields going into harvest. Indigo is using its remote sensing capabilities to assess the extent of the damage to corn, soybeans, and on-farm storage bins after winds of over 100 miles per hour blew through eastern Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and parts of Illinois. For now, however, the production forecast stays at record highs. 

“A record crop should look like a record crop, and from a satellite perspective, this year’s crop is a winner,” said Matt Beckwith, the head of Indigo’s Atlas Insight program. “Vegetation Indices are at 10-year highs, the main question now is how favorable the conditions for grain filling will be over the next month.”

Explore the area planted in your county and state. Indigo generates an estimate of area planted by conducting a field-by-field comparison of satellite imagery this year to past years to identify whether a field is corn or soybeans. Area planted estimates – found in the interactive map below, on the county-level – are from the exclusive look at our report, and will be updated monthly. State area harvested is calculated using the USDA’s June acreage report.

Looking forward to harvest. Next month, Indigo will revise its yield, area planted, and production forecast as the U.S. heads into harvest. Until then, stay tuned for special reports through Atlas Insights.

Want more insight into the report? Watch a webinar below featuring Matt Beckwith and Jonathon Bechtel, a remote sensing data scientist on the Atlas team, to learn more about the data and methodology behind Indigo’s monthly production forecast.

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