WILLAg Notes

September 19, 2016

2016 County Cash Rents | an interview with Gary Schnitkey

The National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) - an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture - released average county cash rents for 2016 the second week of September. These county rents are used to imply average rents for different expected corn yields in the state of Illinois.

September 14, 2016

Bayer to Purchase Monsanto

Bayer and Monsanto today announced that they signed a definitive merger agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto for $128 U.S. dollars per share in an all-cash transaction.

Bayer Ag Brands
Monsanto Brands

The combined agriculture business will have its global Seeds & Traits and North American commercial headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, its global Crop Protection and overall Crop Science headquarters in Monheim, Germany, and an important presence in Durham, North Carolina, as well as many other locations throughout the U.S. and around the world. The Digital Farming activities for the combined business will be based in San Francisco, California.

Advancing Together is the company website dedicated to explaining the deal. Bayer employs 116,800 people around the planet. Monsanto employs more than 20,000 of which about 12,000 are based in the United States.

When the merger is complete, scheduled for sometime in 2017, the combined company will be nearly balanced with approximately half of its assets in the agricultural sector and the other half in healthcare.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including Monsanto shareholder approval of the merger agreement and receipt of required regulatory approvals. Closing is expected by the end of 2017.

* graphics and video courtesy Bayer

September 12, 2016

September 12th | USDA Reports

USDA Crop Production and WASDE reports released 11am central Monday September 12, 2016. Visit our USDA Reports page for full details.

Corn production is forecast at 15.1 billion bushels, up 11 percent from last year but down less than one percent from the August forecast. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 174.4 bushels per acre, down 0.7 bushel from the August forecast but up 6 bushels from 2015. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 86.6 million acres, unchanged from the August forecast, but up 7 percent from 2015. 

Soybean production is forecast at a record 4.20 billion bushels, up 3 percent from August and up 7 percent from last year. Based on September 1 conditions, yields are expected to average a record 50.6 bushels per acre, up 1.7 bushels from last month and up 2.6 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record 83.0 million acres, unchanged from August but up 1 percent from 2015.

Selected States Yield

Aug    Sep     State
200.0  200.0  Illinois
187.0  185.0  Indiana
198.0  196.0  Iowa
184.0  184.0  Minnesota
187.0  184.0  Nebraska
145.0  151.0  Kansas
163.0  162.0  Ohio
147.0  142.0  South Dakota
135.0  135.0  North Dakota

Aug    Sep     State
 57.0   61.0    Illinois
 55.0   58.0    Indiana
 57.0   58.0    Iowa
 47.0   49.0    Minnesota
 59.0   59.0    Nebraska
 40.0   44.0    Kansas
 52.0   53.0    Ohio
 42.0   43.0    South Dakota
 33.0   35.0    North Dakota

September 07, 2016

Grain Farm Income & Cash Rent Outlook

Urbana, Illinois - Wednesday morning September 7, 2016 University of Illinois Extension Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey presented a webinar looking forward into 2017. The discussion centered on farm profitability, projected income, and cash rents. You may the watch the webinar. What follows is a summary of the hour long content.

The USDA WASDE monthly average corn price is $4.67 from 2006 to 2016. The price of corn has been below this average since the fall of 2013 & Gary Schnitkey believes it is likely to continue to stay below this average through the 2017/18 crop year.

Each year USDA tracks the average marketing year cash price. This price is updated monthly in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. The average cash price for corn from 1975 to 2005 is $2.33, $5.95 for soybeans. This is a long term national average cash price. The USDA projected estimates for this marketing year (2016/17) are currently $3.15 and $9.10. The USDA estimate for the 2015 crops is $3.60 and $9.05. This last set can be used to compute expected ARC County payments to be delivered this fall.

Here is a [link](http://farmdoc.illinois.edu/fasttools/index.asp) to the FarmDoc Fast Tools web page from which you may download an Excel spreadsheet to project ARC & PLC payments.

The following tables detail gross revenue per acre for highly productive central Illinois farmland. These are actual, as derived from the Illinois Farm Business Farm Management records, and projected revenues.


Operator and land returns have been declining for both corn and soybeans for several years. However, returns from soybeans have been out performing corn since 2013. Schnitkey predicts this will continue through 2017. It would be the fifth year of higher returns for soybeans than corn. Raising corn on cash rented farmland has been a loser since 2014.

Total income on all Illinois corn and soybean farm (all types of owned & cash rented combined) for 2016 projects a breakeven income year.

Schnitkey says farmers will face three key decision making factors as they consider cash renting farmland for 2017, and that it might be better to give up some of the land based on these considerations.

Across the board the University of Illinois agricultural economist says farmers might need to rethink crop rotations. Soybeans have proved better for several years, and it may be time to adjust to this reality. This or it needs to get cheaper to plant corn. Back in 2000 it costs $63 less to sow and harvest an acre of soybeans. This year the difference was more than $200 an acre of non-land costs in favor of soybeans over corn.

Last week the professional farm managers in Illinois suggested they'd be lowering cash rents by about $20 next year (ISPFMRA Survey). Gary Schnitkey's number is a more conservative $17 an acre based on the fact not all land is professionally managed. Neither of these would be enough to make a cash rented farm break even given $3.50 corn and $9.00 soybeans (2017 | by expected corn yield across Illinois).

So what's the impact on the price of farmland? Well, says Schnitkey, if interest rates stay low the price of farmland will drop by approximately the same percentage change as the cash rent drops. Because cash rent changes very slowly, this is good news for farmland owners, bankers, and producer owners.

Each Tuesday Gary Schnitkey posts a new article to the FarmDocDaily website. Periodically he and the other agricultural economist at the University of Illinois hosts webinars. You may register for upcoming webinars and watch those that have already concluded on this page.

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