Researchers Study Precision Ag’s Effect on USDA Forecasts
A flood of precision agriculture technology to America’s farm fields over the past two decades has created an abundance of information, a mixed blessing for such agencies as the USDA as it tracks the country’s crop production, according to K-State News and Communications Services.
The USDA publishes weekly and monthly reports on current prices, volume, quality and other market data related to crops grown in the United States. Because the agency’s reports are considered the most reliable source of information on the status of U.S. crop production, they often drive the ebb and flow of markets for those products.
Kansas State University agricultural economist Jesse Tack says, however, that the volumes of information now available thanks to precision measurements of farm fields may be inadvertently creating confusion about total crop production in the U.S.
“In particular, there are questions about how accurate USDA crop production estimates are compared to private-sector estimates,” Tack said.