Crop Yield Prediction Using Bayesian Spatially Varying Coefficient Models with Functional Predictors

Yeonjoo Park, Bo Li, Yehua Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reliable prediction for crop yield is crucial for economic planning, food security monitoring, and agricultural risk management. This study aims to develop a crop yield forecasting model at large spatial scales using meteorological variables closely related to crop growth. The influence of climate patterns on agricultural productivity can be spatially inhomogeneous due to local soil and environmental conditions. We propose a Bayesian spatially varying functional model (BSVFM) to predict county-level corn yield for five Midwestern states, based on annual precipitation and daily maximum and minimum temperature trajectories modeled as multivariate functional predictors. The proposed model accommodates spatial correlation and measurement errors of functional predictors, and respects the spatially heterogeneous relationship between the response and associated predictors by allowing the functional coefficients to vary over space. The model also incorporates a Bayesian variable selection device to further expand its capacity to accommodate spatial heterogeneity. The proposed method is demonstrated to outperform other highly competitive methods in corn yield prediction, owing to the flexibility of allowing spatial heterogeneity with spatially varying coefficients in our model. Our study provides further insights into understanding the impact of climate change on crop yield. Supplementary materials for this article are available online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Statistical Association
Issue number541
StatePublished - 2023


  • Bayesian hierarchical model
  • Scalar-on-function regression
  • Spatial functional data
  • Spatial model selection
  • Spatially varying coefficient model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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