Heat and crop yields in 2010

This may be premature, but I'm very tempted to award a gold star for clairvoyance to Michael Roberts, whose research on the effect of heat on crop yields I've blogged here and here. Here he is on August 12:
[Current temperatures] are still rising fast. If this keeps up for a few more days I'd say yields will get hammered.
(to give credit where credit is due, the market may have seen the same thing)

Anyway, fast forward to last week, the October forecasts for wheat, corn and soy are all well below the September forecasts (although USDA puts a bizarrely positive spin on it). As Michael's chart below shows, the September forecast is almost always very good, and revisions are generally upward, not downward, so something funny happened this year, and late heat seems to be a very strong hypothesis.
Michael is investigating the more detailed data and I hope will post any findings as they arise. As I mentioned before, if it was the heat, it will be very valuable to prove and communicate this to stakeholders in agriculture, some of whom have taken very skeptical views toward climate change and its impact on them specifically.

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