Weather, Technology, and Corn and Soybean Yields in the U.S. Corn Belt

127 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2008

See all articles by Michael A. Tannura

Michael A. Tannura

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Scott H. Irwin

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Darrel L. Good

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Date Written: February 1, 2008

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between weather, technology, and corn and soybean yields in the U.S. Corn Belt. Corn and soybean yields, monthly temperature, and monthly precipitation observations were collected over 1960 through 2006 for Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Multiple regression models were developed based on specifications found in studies by Thompson (1962, 1963, 1969, 1970, 1985, 1986, 1988). Estimated models explained at least 94% and 89% of the variation in corn and soybean yields for each state, respectively. This research provided strong evidence that precipitation, temperature, and a linear time trend to represent technological improvement explained all but a small portion of the variation in corn and soybean yields in the U.S. Corn Belt. An especially important finding was that relatively benign weather for the development of corn since the mid-1990s should not be discounted as an explanation for seemingly high yields. The potential impact of this finding on the agricultural sector is noteworthy. Trend yield forecasts based on perceptions of a rapid increase in technology may eventually lead to poor forecasts. Unfavorable weather in the future may lead to unexpectedly low corn yields that leave producers, market participants, and policy-makers wondering how such low yields could have occurred despite technological improvements.

Keywords: corn, soybeans, yield, weather, technology, trends

JEL Classification: Q11, Q10

Suggested Citation

Tannura, Michael A. and Irwin, Scott H. and Good, Darrel L., Weather, Technology, and Corn and Soybean Yields in the U.S. Corn Belt (February 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1147803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1147803

Michael A. Tannura

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Scott H. Irwin (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics ( email )

1301 W. Gregory Drive
326 Mumford Hall, MC-710
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Darrel L. Good

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics ( email )

1301 W. Gregory Drive
326 Mumford Hall, MC-710
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

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