January 2021 South America Production Report

  • With machine learning applied to satellite, ground, and historical data, Indigo generates monthly production forecasts for corn and soybeans in North and South America.
  • Despite a slow start to the Brazilian growing season, Indigo’s Crop Health Index (CHI) shows the Brazilian crop is rebounding and is approaching 10-year highs in terms of yield potential.
  • Indigo’s Brazilian corn and soybean forecasts are 0.2 tons per hectare (mt/ha) above and 0.3 mt/ha below local estimates.
  • Indigo’s Argentinian corn and soybean forecasts are 0.4 mt/ha below and 0.2 mt/ha above the local estimates.

January 13, 2021. After a slow start to the growing season, crop health in Brazil has rebounded while Argentina has trended along the 10-year low through the first two weeks of 2021. These developments are spurred by improving rainfall in Brazil and scarce rainfall in Argentina, as the La Niña weather pattern sets in down south.

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In Brazil, Indigo forecasts 107M tons of corn and 122M tons of soybean production, based on our projected yields of 5.8 tons per hectare and 3.2 tons per hectare and Conab’s area planted estimates of 18.4M hectares and 38.2M hectares, respectively. 

In Argentina, Indigo forecasts 45M tons of corn and 51M tons of soybean production, based on our projected yields of 7.3 and 3.0 metric tons per hectare and Buenos Aires Grain Exchange area planted estimates of 6.3M hectares and 17.2M hectares, respectively.

Importantly, this month’s commentary would be incomplete without acknowledging the USDA’s historic adjustment to their 20/21 Annual Crop Production Summary yesterday. Corn yield was lowered by -3.8 bu/ac to 172 bu/ac and soybean yield by -0.5 bu/ac to 50.2 bu/ac. This was the largest yield change for corn from the November to January report since 1975.  

How do we generate our forecasts? Through the application of machine learning and other statistical methods to ground, equipment, historical, and satellite data, Atlas is one of the core technology systems underpinning Indigo’s platform. We build models that assess crop health and production, among other factors such as beneficial practice use, at the field, county, state, and national levels.

To track the dynamic variables that affect crops, Atlas leverages the Crop Health Index (CHI), a proprietary measurement of plant performance built and optimized for agriculture. The CHI is updated in real time, with new insights into the health of dozens of crops generated every day. The immediacy and accuracy of this information supports key decision making for farmers, originators, buyers, advisors, traders, investors, and other industry players every day.

What can you expect? Indigo will continue updating its forecast as the season in South America progresses, returning in February with another production report before the USDA’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) release.

Interested in learning more? Watch the webinar below, featuring a deep dive on South American production and USDA revisions from analysts and scientists on our GeoInnovation team.



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