Indigo Ag Inc. is forecasting output of U.S. corn and soybeans to fall sharply after relentless rain in the planting season was followed by dry growing conditions in the Midwestern crop belt.
The Boston-based crop intelligence firm uses satellite imagery and ground intelligence gathered in part from farmers to make its predictions. It estimated end-of-season U.S. corn production at 12 billion bushels and yields at 154.7 bushels per acre. Each estimate was the lowest since 2012 and below a Bloomberg analyst survey for 13.1 billion bushels and yields of 164.9 bushels per acre.
"Significant uncertainty remains before crops reach maturity," Indigo Ag said in an emailed report. "Of particular concern is dry weather, which will be especially harmful to crops with shallow rooting, and the risk of an early freeze for late-planted crops."
The company compared satellite images from this year and last that showed, for instance, numerous brown spots in Illinois, indicating fields where farmers were unable to get corn or soy seeds planted amid near-ceaseless rainfall in April, May and June.
The firm estimated final soybean production at 3.7 billion bushels and yields at 45.3 bushels per acre. Each was below Bloomberg's survey ahead of the USDA report for 3.79 billion and yields of 47.4 bushels per acre.