Corn Yield Prediction with Ensemble CNN-DNN

by   Mohsen Shahhosseini, et al.

We investigate the predictive performance of two novel CNN-DNN machine learning ensemble models in predicting county-level corn yields across the US Corn Belt (12 states). The developed data set is a combination of management, environment, and historical corn yields from 1980-2019. Two scenarios for ensemble creation are considered: homogenous and heterogeneous ensembles. In homogenous ensembles, the base CNN-DNN models are all the same, but they are generated with a bagging procedure to ensure they exhibit a certain level of diversity. Heterogenous ensembles are created from different base CNN-DNN models which share the same architecture but have different levels of depth. Three types of ensemble creation methods were used to create several ensembles for either of the scenarios: Basic Ensemble Method (BEM), Generalized Ensemble Method (GEM), and stacked generalized ensembles. Results indicated that both designed ensemble types (heterogenous and homogenous) outperform the ensembles created from five individual ML models (linear regression, LASSO, random forest, XGBoost, and LightGBM). Furthermore, by introducing improvements over the heterogeneous ensembles, the homogenous ensembles provide the most accurate yield predictions across US Corn Belt states. This model could make 2019 yield predictions with a root mean square error of 866 kg/ha, equivalent to 8.5 relative root mean square, and could successfully explain about 77 spatio-temporal variation in the corn grain yields. The significant predictive power of this model can be leveraged for designing a reliable tool for corn yield prediction which will, in turn, assist agronomic decision-makers.



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