Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO

Provision of global scale grain yield forecast

-Promptness and prediction accuracy of the service is verified and working towards full-scale operation-

NARO, in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Climate Center (APCC), has developed a global yield forecasting method for maize, wheat, rice, and soybeans in 2018. Since June 2019, we have been conducting a trial operation of the providing yield forecast information to food agencies across the world every month. We verified the prediction accuracy of annual yield for 2019 by this service for the United States and 12 European countries. Although the accuracy of this service is rather low compared to yield forecasts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Joint Research Center (JRC), it was shown that the yield overview can be grasped 1 to 6 months earlier (3 to 6 months before the harvest) than the existing forecast is published. Based on these results, we plan to start providing yield forecast information on the WEB page by the year 2023.


Global forecasting of food production is becoming increasingly important due to the globalization of food supply chains and the increase in weather extremes due to climate change. Generally, yield forecasts will be predicted regionally, or country wise and global forecasts is very rare. In many countries, the proportion of food imports is increasing, and it is becoming more necessary to predict the production trends of major exporting and importing countries in addition to grasping the production situation of their own countries.

Hence NARO, in collaboration with APCC, has developed a global yield forecasting method for major grains. We have been conducting a trial operation of the service that provides monthly yield forecast information to food agencies across the world since June 2019. We verified the accuracy of the yield forecast provided by this service by comparing the yields of crops produced in 2019 in the United States and 12 European countries with the actual yields. We also compared yield forecasts by the USDA and JRC. It was found that the yield forecast for this service was available 1 to 6 months earlier than the existing forecasts published by USDA and JRC which was based on detailed surveys of their own countries and specific regions, and our forecast was able to get an overview of the yield 3-6 months before the harvest.

We have planned to publish the yield forecast information on the WEB page every month by 2023 since this service has attracted more public attention. This is the world's first attempt to publish yield forecast information in global scale. With this service, food agencies and industries that use imported grains as raw materials can use it earlier than when existing forecast information is available. It can also be used in combination with existing forecasts to provide yield forecast information over a wider range of time periods. The publication of objective forecast information has the effect of suppressing speculative food price spikes in the international commodity market to some extent. It is expected to play a public role in supporting the response of APEC member countries to the food production shock caused by the abnormal weather under climate change.

The evaluation results of yield prediction accuracy were published in the journal Weather and Forecasting of the American Meteorological Society

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