September 23, 2016

Not Much Chance USDA Will Change Corn Yield or Acreage



Early corn yield reports have been good, but pretty variable. There are more than few concerns about a disease called diplodia, too. Some are beginning to piece these items together to make a case for USDA to lower its corn yield estimate. This isn’t very likely thinks University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good.

“The fact is”, says Darrel Good, “if you look at the last 20 years of history, there is a strong tendency of the corn yield estimate to get higher in January compared to what it was in September. This has happened 70% of the time in the last 20 years, and almost 70% of the time in the last 40 years. So, those looking for a lower estimate are bucking history, but you can’t rule it out.”

Maybe not, but even if the USDA yield changes it won’t be by much thinks Darrel Good. Certainly not enough to really alter the supply/demand balance sheet changing it from a surplus to a tight supply situation. He doesn’t expect USDA to change the acreage numbers much either. This is because the difference between the Farm Service Agency reported acreage figures released in August and then again in September was very small.

This tells Darrel Good reporting has occurred in a very timely fashion. Therefore, he doesn’t look for an FSA increase in subsequent reports. Historically when the dust settles on corn, NASS acreage is three to three-and-a-half percent higher than FSA, says the U of I number cruncher, and about two percent higher on soybeans. This is right in the range where the FSA numbers set today.

Consequently, Darrel Good does not expect NASS to change its corn acreage estimate very much going forward. If this is the case, it leaves the U.S. with record corn yield and production figures.


September 19, 2016

Waiting for a Shift in U.S. Corn Acres

Farmers in the United States are about to harvest one of their best corn crops ever and prices are low. They may need to hang on to the crop for while if they want a better offer, and that could take a shift to soybeans next spring.



The United States Department of Agriculture judges this year’s corn crop to be a record breaker. If it all comes in as predicted in USDA’s September reports there will be none bigger, and the market believes it so far. The price of corn has dropped about a dollar a bushel since earlier in the summer. This price isn’t likely to change much thinks Darrel Good until some new information comes along in one of the USDA reports, and that might not be until next spring.

As long as we have that kind of carryover prospects, the market sees no reason to push prices higher to reduce consumption.
- Darrel Good

The big response he’ll be looking for is in U.S. acreage next spring, says Good. The agricultural economist suggests the price of corn now, when compared to the price of soybeans, should result in some acreage shift from corn to soybeans next years. This could result in some relief on the supply side of the corn market.

This shift, if it comes, would be from farmers responding to market signals. Right now the price of soybeans compared to corn suggest farmers in the United States should seriously consider changing up next year’s crop mix, planting more soybeans. As for marketing this year’s corn crop, well, Darrel Good says it’s a waiting game for corn, and may very well be directly related to the acreage response.

There is some carry in the market. It is not huge. Prices remain fairly low. You’d say storage is a better option for corn, but you’ll have to store it at least through the first of the year, maybe into the spring of the year, before you could anticipate much of a rebound in spot prices.
- Darrel Good

Darrel Good writes about the commodity markets each Monday. The articles are posted to the FarmDocDaily website.


September 19, 2016

Quick Ship Soybeans and Storing Corn

The rains falling across the Midwest are delaying harvest for the moment, but they may also bring with them a sales opportunity for farmers. That's because the amount of soybeans left in the nation is pretty small, and processors are in need. University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good says, if farmers can get in and harvest, they might find some pretty good basis levels.

We are coming off a period in central Illinois when spot soybean prices were running well above November futures. Twenty to thirty cents above, but it has begun to erode. However, we are still looking at prices pretty close to option value. It says to me with big yields and that kind of price, well over $9.00, revenue looks pretty good by selling some soybeans at least, if not a majority of the soybeans right out of the field. -Darrel Good

The sooner the better and the higher the quick ship premium, although those are likely to disappear quickly thinks Darrel Good.


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

CORN
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

SOYBEAN
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.







op

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.


August 31, 2016

Low Returns, Crop Prices Keeping Pressure on Farmland Values



(Boone, IA, August 31, 2016) – Illinois farmland values continued their pullback around the state during the first half of 2016 as prices retraced between an estimated 3.3 percent and 7 percent. Continued low net returns and softening commodity prices are cited as the primary cause of the decrease. This is according to the Mid-Year “Snapshot Survey” information gathered by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers as well as the Illinois Farm and Land Chapter of the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI). The data analysis is provided by Gary Schnitkey, Ph.D., with the University of Illinois College of ACES. The survey is part of an ongoing and larger annual Land Values and Lease Trends project conducted by the Society.

The survey results were released today at the Farm Progress Show being held in Boone, IA.

According to the survey, below $4 per bushel prices paid for corn are expected to continue into 2017 with some decreases in production costs expected. Cash rents paid are also expected to drop about $20 per acre.

Farmland Values and Volumes
Survey respondents indicated that land values decreased 3.3 percent for Excellent-quality farmland; decreased 4.5 percent for Good-quality land; 5.6 percent of Average-quality land; and dropped 7.0 percent for Fair- quality land.

(In a normal year, Excellent- quality farmland averages over 190 bushels of corn per acre, Good- quality farmland averages between 170 and 190 bushels per acre, Average- quality farmland averages between 150 and 170 bushels per acre, and Fair- quality farmland averages below 150 bushels per acre. )

Respondents estimated prices paid for Excellent-quality farmland during the first half of 2016 averaged $11,100 per acre; $9,400 for Good land; $7,600 for Average-quality land; and $5,800 for Fair-quality farmland. Sixty three percent of those responding to the survey reported that less farmland was sold during the year and 85 percent expect the same amount of land, or less, to be available for sale in 2017. Typical buyers (64 percent) continue to be other farmers and there are no expectations of significant changes in this.

Respondents indicate they are split on whether there will be the same or more demand for land with 48 percent expecting there will be some decreases in demand and 51 percent anticipating no change or a very slight increase.

Price Expectations
Overall, respondents are more pessimistic about prices at midyear this year compared to recent surveys with a full 90 percent expecting some further decreases in values ranging from 1 percent to 10 percent. Corresponding decreases on per-acre-return are also forecast with 49 percent expecting a drop between $25 and $50 per acre and 16 percent predicting decreases of more than $50 per acre. A mere 2 percent expect returns to increase and then only very modestly.

Cash Rents
While a full 93 percent expect corn yields to be above average they expect the price for corn to be around $3.45 per bushel. A full two-thirds of respondents expect a ‘slight’ decrease in production costs. All of this leads to expectations that cash rents will continue their decline along the lines of land productivity.

Expected rents for 2017 for Excellent- and Good-quality land are expected to decrease by 7 percent; 9 percent for Average land; and 6 percent for Fair farmland.




Currently the most popular type of lease arrangement is for Cash Rent (32 percent) followed by Share Rent (29 percent), Variable Cash Rent (20 percent), Modified Share Rent (12 percent) and Custom Farming (7 percent). Respondents indicate Share Rent leases and Fixed Cash Rents will decrease in use while Variable Cash Rents will become more popular.

The ISPFMRA will be conducting its annual Land Values and Lease Trends Survey over the upcoming winter months. The results of this larger survey will be released at the 2017 Illinois Land Values Conference set for March 23, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloomington, IL.


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