Welcome to the virtual Geosys Crop Tour 2020
This is a year like no other. From a global pandemic to catastrophic weather events, numerous variables are impacting crop production this season. To understand what is happening in the ground, we look to the sky by using scientific-grade satellite data to power industry leading analytics.
The virtual crop tour took place August 31 through September 4 with the purpose of analyzing the conditions of the corn and soybean fields in the United States.
Our team of crop analysts constantly monitor the world’s major growing regions using our Agriquest tool. This is a preview of the services we deliver to our global customers from a field to continent level.
Friday, September 4
On the last day of our Virtual Crop Tour, we’re providing a general analysis of what has been seen over the past four days. The tour covered eight states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and, lastly, Iowa ①.
The Geosys Virtual Crop Tour 2020 covered 66.2% of the total area destined for the planting of corn and soybeans in the United States and evaluated about 71% of the estimated production for the current harvest ②.
In the Tour’s evaluation, we concluded that, for corn, the productivity of the current season should be 1.98% higher than the trend ③ (considering the last 15 years). For soybeans, the increase should be 1.72%, in the same comparison ④.
Using the corn mask (with the AgriQuest tool) we observed that the path of the Geosys Virtual Crop Tour identified significant changes when we compared the beginning of August ① with the beginning of September ②.
For corn, we cover 68% of the total area for sowing in the United States, which represents, according to our estimates, about 72.5% of production.
Using the soy mask, the Geosys Virtual Crop Tour also identified significant changes in the path taken when comparing August ① with September ②.
For soybeans, we cover 64.5% of the total area for sowing in the United States, which represents, according to our estimates, about 66% of production.
What to expect to the next days?
For the next few days it is important keep monitor the climatic conditions in the US. In Iowa, for example, the degradation of NDVI is spreading across the state ①, in addition, the European model (ECMWF) points out that rainfall should remain below average ②. On the other hand, the American model (GFS) is much more optimistic and shows above-average precipitation in Iowa and in a good part of the CornBelt ③, which will collaborate with the improvement of production potentials, which are in decline due to low soil moisture.
Thursday, September 3
On the second to last day of the Geosys Crop Tour we started our stop in Illinois, at McLean ①. In the region, the vegetation indices, which is at a good level (in line with the similar years of 2009, 2013 and 2017), has declined more intensely in recent weeks ②. In August, monthly rainfall was well below average ③ and, in addition, temperatures were higher ④. If conditions do not improve, there may be negative impacts on grain development. To monitor.
In the East of the state, in Iroquois ①, the scenario is similar to that of the Center of Illinois. The NDVI ② remains positive, despite the low rainfall in August. The soil moisture, despite the slight improvement in the last few days ③, remains below average. Temperatures in August were above average ④ which contributed to the low level of soil moisture. Despite the NDVI still at a good level, there may be a deterioration of vegetation vigor, if conditions do not improve.
Illinois: Bureau, LaSalle, Henry, Whiteside and Lee
In the Northwest of the state, in the counties of Bureau, LaSalle, Henry, Whiteside and Lee ①, when we apply the masks for corn and soybeans, there is a difference in the vigor of the vegetation. For corn, NDVI remains positive ②, in line with the positive years of 2013 and 2017, despite low soil moisture ③ and low rainfall in August ④. For the short term, a slight improvement in soil moisture is expected, favorable for crops.
Illinois: Bureau, LaSalle, Henry, Whiteside and Lee
On the other hand, using the soybean mask, in the same region (in Bureau, LaSalle, Henry, Whiteside and Lee counties ①), the vigor of vegetation has deteriorated over the past two weeks ②, thus, the NDVI that was in line With the good year of 2017, it is currently below the average and the negative year (for soybeans) of 2013. Low rainfall in the region in August ③ was one of the factors that contributed to the deterioration of the NDVI. Therefore, it is necessary that it rains more regularly in the region. To monitor.
In Iowa, throughout August, the vegetation indices had a sharply deterioration. When comparing the situation at the beginning ① of the month with the end ②, the change in the scenario is visible, which highlights the importance of periodic monitoring of climatic conditions and their effects on NDVI. In the state, in addition to drought (mainly in the west of the state) we also had Derecho ③, which had negative impacts on agriculture. We talked about the impacts of drought and Derecho in the last week.
Iowa: Kossuth, Palo Alto and Hancock
Even in Northern Iowa, in Kossuth, Palo Alto and Hancock counties ①, where the drought is less intense and the Derecho has not passed, there is a visible degradation of the NDVI in the last days of August, thus the vigor of the vegetation that was in line with the positive years of 2016 and 2017, is currently below average ②. However, even if the drought is not as severe as in other regions of the state, the water balance is negative ③, but well above the levels recorded in 2012 (year of intense drought). Low rainfall in August ④ associated with high temperatures ⑤ explains the drop in NDVI in the region.
Iowa: Crawford and Carrol
In Midwest Iowa, in Crawford and Carrol counties ①, where the drought is most intense, the vegetation indices also showed a clear deterioration in the second half of August ②. The water balance is negative, below 2017 levels ③, which shows the best conditions that year. Low rainfall kept soil moisture close to the levels of the bad year 2012 ④, in addition, maximum temperatures reached around 35 degrees Celsius (or 95 degrees Fahrenheit) at the end of the month ⑤. The bad conditions keep the alert for the region, which needs higher volumes of rain.
Iowa: Jasper, Poweshiek, Marshall, Tama and Benton
In Eastern Central Iowa, in Jasper, Poweshiek, Marshall, Tama and Benton counties ①, as in the West of the state, the vegetation indices has clearly deteriorated, especially since the second half of the month ②. Thus, the NDVI, which at the beginning of August was in line with the good year of 2017, is currently similar to the bad year of 2012. However, in the East of the state the water balance is close to the average level, above the levels of 2012 and 2017 ③ (differently from the Western region). In addition to the high temperatures in August ④, a more pronounced drop in the NDVI in the second half of August highlights the impacts of the Derecho on the region ⑤.
Day 4 Production Figures
Despite the less favorable scenario in August, mainly in Iowa, corn and soybean production are expected to be higher in the current season compared to the previous season in both states.
In Iowa, corn and soybean production should be 3% and 3.7% higher, respectively, in 2020 compared to 2019. In Illinois, corn and soybean production should grow 20.8% and 25.4%, respectively.
Wednesday, September 2
Indiana: Newton, Jasper, White and Benton
Focusing the analysis on the corn fields, using the corn mask (available in the Agriquest tool), in the region of Newton, Jasper, White and Benton ①, in Northwest Indiana, the vegetation indices remains above the average of the last 10 years ②. NDVI, which was in line with the years of 2013 and 2017 (positive years for soybean and corn production and similar to 2020), had a more pronounced decline in the last days of August, which may be a reflection of low soil moisture ③ associated with above average temperatures throughout August ④. For the short term, the expectation is that the soil moisture will improve, however, it should remain below average. To monitor.
Indiana: Newton, Jasper, White and Benton
Less favorable conditions in late August in Northwest Indiana, in Newton, Jasper, White and Benton ① counties, also impacted soybean fields. Using the soybean mask, NDVI deterioration is observed, which was in line with the positive years of 2013, 2014 and 2016, however, it is currently below the average ②. The low soil moisture ③, associated with higher temperatures in August ④, reflected in the vigor of the vegetation, which shows the need for greater rainfall, which was well below average in August ⑤.
The last stop on the third day is in Ohio, in Darke County ①, whose corn production stands out compared to other counties. In the region, NDVI showed good dynamics ②, mainly with the highest soil moisture from the end of July. The level of soil moisture dropped sharply in the second half of August ③, in addition, temperatures were also higher in this period ④ (compared to the average and the analog year of 2017). But less favorable conditions did not have a negative impact like observed in Northwest Indiana, for example. However, if rainfall remains low, there may be negative effects on the region. To monitor.
Day 3 Production Figures
In Indiana and Ohio, state production is expected to be higher in 2020 compared to 2019. For corn, Indiana is expected to produce about 25% more this year while the estimated high in Ohio is 41%. For soybeans, the increase should be 29% and 25.5% in Indiana and Ohio, respectively. This estimate was made in early September, so there may be changes in subsequent weeks.
Tuesday, September 1
Minnesota: Renville and Redwood counties
On the second day of the Geosys Crop Tour 2020 we start in Southern Minnesota, in Renville and Redwood ①. In the region, the vegetation indices is above the average of the last ten years ② despite the water deficit ③ (in line with the good year of 2015). However, the vigor of the vegetation has deteriorated slightly in recent days. The high temperatures in August ④ (around 35ºC or 95ºF) were unfavorable for the crops. Low rainfall is expected to keep soil moisture below average. To monitor.
In the south of the state, in Martin ①, on the Iowa border, the low rainfall in the season keeps the water balance at one of the lowest levels of the decade ②. Despite the more favorable scenario than in western Iowa, the vigor of vegetation has shown a little more intense decline in recent days ③. Soil moisture ④, despite showing a slight improvement in the last week, remains well below average, an unfavorable scenario for the crops.
In the West of CornBelt, in Custer, Nebraska ①, the vegetation indices remains in line with the positive years of 2015 and 2017 ②, however, the water deficit ③ shows the low rainfall in the region and, in addition, the maximum temperatures were higher in August of 2020 compared to 2015 and 2017 ④. With low rainfall, soil moisture remains below average, an unfavorable scenario for crops.
In Eastern Nebraska, in York ①, the NDVI is on a good level ② despite the water deficit ③ which is not as severe as in the center of the state (as in Custer, for example). However, note the maximum temperatures ④ that were high in the second half of August and the sharp drop in soil moisture ⑤. These factors, if not improved, may reflect negatively on the vigor of the vegetation.
Day 2 Production Figures
Currently, in the annual comparison, in Minnesota, corn and soybean production are expected to increase by 17.4% and 20.4%, respectively. Minnesota is expected to produce close to 10% of corn and soybeans in relation to national production. Nebraska is expected to produce 3.6% and 2.8% more corn and soybean this year, respectively. Regarding national production, Nebraska is expected to produce about 12% of the total corn produced in the USA and 7% of soybean.
In general, in Minnesota and Nebraska the scenario is one of attention, because, despite the current expectation of increased production in these states, the water deficit can change the direction of production in these regions.
Monday, August 31
NORTH DAKOTA: Cass and Richland counties
In Southeast of North Dakota ① the vegetation indices improved in the second half of August ②. Despite the negative water balance ③, the increased of precipitation at the end of the first half of the month resulted in a rise in soil moisture level ④ and contributed to the improvement of NDVI in the period.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Brown and Spink
In northeastern of South Dakota ①, rainfall has improved over the past week, resulting in increased soil moisture ②, positive for grains. In addition, maximum temperatures, which reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit ③ (or 35 degrees Celsius), have been lower in recent days. The vegetation indices, which decreased due to low rainfall and high temperature, may reflect the improvement in climatic conditions in recent days ④. To monitor.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Minnehaha
Finally, the last stop on the first day of the Virtual Geosys Crop Tour 2020 was in Southeast of South Dakota ①, where the water balance is negative ②, close to the level of 2012 (year that suffered a severe drought). With low rainfall, soil moisture remains well below average ③, however, the higher temperatures ④ in 2012 leaded a scenario worse than what we see this year.
Day 1 Production Figures
According to our estimates, North Dakota corn production is expected to be close to 7.87 million tons (309,83 millions bushels), down 34.1% from the previous year. On the other hand, in South Dakota, production should be 47.7% higher in the annual comparison. The estimate was made at the end of August (8/27), therefore, there may be changes until the end of the harvest.
North Dakota is expected to produce about 2% of national corn production and 4.2% of total soybean production. South Dakota is expected to produce about 5.7% of national corn and soybean production.