Using a machine learning approach and big data to augment WASDE forecasts: Empirical evidence from US corn yield

Mitchell Roznik, Ashok K. Mishra, Milton S. Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the accuracy of corn yield forecasts using machine learning with satellite and weather data. In addition, the study examines the incremental value of these forecasts to augment the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) forecast. To illustrate the potential of machine learning methods for agricultural forecasting, publicly available data are collected from 1984 to 2021 for national corn yield, state corn yield, satellite variables, and weather variables and used with the XGBoost algorithm. The results show that the XGBoost model performed about the same but did not outperform the WASDE corn yield forecasts over a 12-year out-of-sample period. The incremental value analysis results suggest that the XGBoost and WASDE forecasts capture similar information, and no incremental information exits. Although the XGBoost model does not outperform the WASDE August forecast, it is near real-time and can be produced using publicly available data. The results indicate that the XGBoost machine learning models can produce reasonably accurate crop yield forecasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1370-1384
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Forecasting
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Google Earth Engine
  • NDVI
  • XGBoost
  • forecasting crop yield
  • machine learning
  • weather data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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