Campus Units

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Document Type


Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Frontiers in Plant Science



First Page


Research Focus Area(s)

​Operations Research




Crop yield is a highly complex trait determined by multiple factors such as genotype, environment, and their interactions. Accurate yield prediction requires fundamental understanding of the functional relationship between yield and these interactive factors, and to reveal such relationship requires both comprehensive datasets and powerful algorithms. In the 2018 Syngenta Crop Challenge, Syngenta released several large datasets that recorded the genotype and yield performances of 2,267 maize hybrids planted in 2,247 locations between 2008 and 2016 and asked participants to predict the yield performance in 2017. As one of the winning teams, we designed a deep neural network (DNN) approach that took advantage of state-of-the-art modeling and solution techniques. Our model was found to have a superior prediction accuracy, with a root-mean-square-error (RMSE) being 12% of the average yield and 50% of the standard deviation for the validation dataset using predicted weather data. With perfect weather data, the RMSE would be reduced to 11% of the average yield and 46% of the standard deviation. We also performed feature selection based on the trained DNN model, which successfully decreased the dimension of the input space without significant drop in the prediction accuracy. Our computational results suggested that this model significantly outperformed other popular methods such as Lasso, shallow neural networks (SNN), and regression tree (RT). The results also revealed that environmental factors had a greater effect on the crop yield than genotype.


This article is published as Khaki, Saeed, and Lizhi Wang. "Crop Yield Prediction Using Deep Neural Networks." Frontiers in Plant Science 10 (2019): 621. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00621. Posted with permission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright Owner

Khaki and Wang



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