The 2022 Yield Forecast Challenge

Posted by David Widmar on March 28, 2022

by Brent Gloy and David Widmar

We launched AEI Premium and the Ag Forecast Network (AFN) two years ago with the goal of helping agricultural thought leaders improve their thinking and make better decisions. In that spirit of always improving, we are excited to announce the launch of a new project: the 2022 Yield Forecast Challenge.

A Few Details

Beginning April 15, AEI Premium users will be invited to forecast 16 AFN questions about the various USDA yield estimates for corn and soybeans. The grand prize: $1,600.

The questions will span the USDA WASDE reports from May through November 2022.

To kick off the contest, the first four questions will be posted on April 15:

  1. What is the probability of the May WASDE estimating the 2022 U.S. corn yields above 181.0 bushels per acre?
  2. What is the probability of the May WASDE estimating the 2022 U.S. soybean yields above 51.5 bushels per acre?
  3. What is the probability of the November WASDE estimating the 2022 U.S. corn yields above 181.0 bushels per acre?
  4. What is the probability of the November WASDE estimating the 2022 U.S. soybean yields above 51.5 bushels per acre?

After the May WASDE report, the first two questions will be resolved and scored. We will then add two new questions about the probability of the June WASDE yield estimate being higher than the May estimates. This process of resolving, scoring, and posting two new questions will continue with each report through November. After the November report, all 16 questions – including #3 and #4 above – will be scored, and the overall winner will be announced.

Four Reasons You Should Participate

1. Be Your Own Guru

“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.” – Buckminster Fuller

Every year, you are bombarded with endless streams of anecdotes and personal estimates shared by your friends, family, and online. How do you sort through all that noise and form your own expectations? The AFN tool helps users triangulate by thinking more critically about the uncertainty at hand.

It’s useless for most of us to make point estimates of what the next USDA yield estimate will be (i.e., 181.0 versus 179.9). Instead, we should focus on quantifying our uncertainty (or confidence) and benchmarking with others.

2. Benchmark Your Expectations

“You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” – Peter Drucker (probably)

The AFN tool will allow you to benchmark expectations in three ways. First, the platform records and plots your past forecasts, allowing you to review how your expectations have changed over time. Recalibrating your expectations and forecast in light of new information is important.

Second, the AFN tool also reports the AFN Consensus – or the average forecast across all users. Finally, each question is eventually resolved and scored.

3. Win-win.

“You win some, you lose some, but always learning.” – AFN’s tagline

Winning is fun – especially when pride, prizes, and a leaderboard are in play – but the most important part of the AFN experience and the 2022 Yield Forecast Challenge is learning. As mentioned before, guessing the USDA yields estimate is a pointless exercise for most of us, but we still need to size up and think about the range of possible outcomes. The AFN experience will help as you adjust your forecasts and learn from past successes or shortcomings.

4. Full Access to AEI Premium

“But wait, there’s more!” – Ron Popeil

We’ve talked a lot about the 2022 Forecast Challenge, but participants will also have full access to AEI Premium. This includes the weekly newsletter and all AEI Premium content and articles. There will be frequent articles relevant to the yield contest – including a look at historical yields, how to think about drought maps, and what we can learn from weekly crop conditions rating – but we will also be forecasting and writing about the other big issues affecting the farm economy.

Watch your inbox: In addition to the weekly Friday newsletter, we’ll be sending emails to keep everyone updated on the 2022 Yield Forecast Challenge.

Get Started Today

There are two ways to get started:

  1. Start Your Risk-Free Trial
  2. Sign up for an upcoming Demo

You can reach out to Ryan on the AEI team to schedule a one-on-one demo and discuss options for your team, organization, or peer group.

Lastly, you can read more about the contest and some of the frequently asked questions.

Parting Thought

In the Midwest, the combination of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, dry air from the Rocky Mountains is a recipe for chaotic weather. Without experience, you might incorrectly assume these seemingly opposite factors would average or cancel each other out. Instead, they amplify and build off each other in dangerous ways.

A similar situation can create chaos in decision-making. The ingredients: significant uncertainty and a torrent of information. Again, one would think these would cancel each other out, but they don’t and instead have an amplifying effect.

With AEI Premium, our goal has been to address both of those challenges. Our writing at AEI and AEI Premium focuses on not breaking news but breaking down the latest issues. We analyze trends, insights, and their potential implications, rather than just considering a few recent data points.

We are excited about the 2022 Yield Forecast Challenge, but more broadly and perhaps importantly, we also wanted to share how all this fits into our broader mission. In conclusion, we’ll leave you with this thought: How do you insulate your thinking from the chaos?

Share article: