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Journal Article

A systematic review of local to regional yield forecasting approaches and frequently used data resources


Schauberger,  Bernhard
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Jägermeyr,  Jonas
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Gornott,  Christoph
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Schauberger, B., Jägermeyr, J., Gornott, C. (2020): A systematic review of local to regional yield forecasting approaches and frequently used data resources. - European Journal of Agronomy, 120, 126153.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_24342
Forecasting crop yields, or providing an expectation of ex-ante harvest amounts, is highly relevant to the whole agricultural production chain. Farmers can adapt their management, traders or insurers their pricing schemes, suppliers their stocks, logistic companies their routes, national authorities their food balance sheets to guide import or export and, finally, international aid organizations can mobilize reliefs. Evidence has grown in the literature that such forecasts with a meaningful lead time are possible on various geographic scales and for a broad range of crops. Here, we present a systematic review of the methods applied in end-of-season yield forecasting and three frequently used data sources: weather data, satellite data and crop masks. Our literature database comprises 362 studies (2004 to 2019) which were evaluated regarding methods, crops, regions, data sources, lead time and performance. Moreover, we present 24 sources of real-time and predictive weather data, 21 sources of remote sensing data and 16 crop masks. Yield forecasting in our literature sample has been performed for 44 crops in 71 countries, also including many non-staple crops, but with an apparent bias in regions and crops. Forecasting performance depends on various factors, including crop, region, method, lead time to harvest and input diversity. Our systematic review supports a broader application of locally successful approaches at larger scales by providing a comprehensive, accessible compendium of necessary information for yield forecasting. We discuss improvement potentials with respect to methodological approaches and available data sources. We additionally suggest standardization procedures for future forecasting studies and encourage studying additional crops and geographic regions. Implications of forecasts for different target groups on different scales and the adaptation towards climate change are also discussed.