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Use and relevance of European Union crop monitoring and yield forecasts

Marijn van der Velde, Irene Biavetti, Mohamed El-Aydam, Stefan Niemeyer, Fabien Santini and Maurits van den Berg

Agricultural Systems, 2019, vol. 168, issue C, 224-230

Abstract: Since 1993, the JRC has put in operation a crop monitoring and yield forecasting system for Europe, the results of which are published in the JRC MARS Bulletin (currently every month). This paper outlines how the agro-meteorological analyses, country-specific overviews of crop conditions, and crop yield forecasts reported in the Bulletin are used and how these respond to the diverse needs of different types of stakeholders. Stakeholders from more than 32 countries download the JRC MARS Bulletin, in peak-season up to 1500 downloads occur in the first days after publication. The readership of the Bulletin is diverse, coming from governments (e.g. Ministries of Agriculture), private companies (e.g. commodity traders, banking), media, and research and academia. On the list of stakeholders that want to be notified of the release of the Bulletin, roughly 37% originate from business, 35% from research and development, 22% from government, and 6% from the media. The primary user is the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG-AGRI) of the European Commission, which uses the forecasts to quantify the production estimates for crop supply balance sheets and to identify regions with exceptional (mostly weather related) challenges that might require a policy response. The information for wheat, maize and rice is shared through the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) thus contributing to increased global market transparency and better governance of agriculture and food policies. The largest business use is in market information, financial, and consultancy services, followed by commodity trading. Examples of use in media reports as well as online feedback to those, e.g. by farmer's organizations, are also presented. Downloads of the Bulletin peak in the month before harvest at the time when the forecasts can be of most value for stakeholder decision-making.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2018.05.001

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