WILLAg Notes

March 20, 2015

The March 31 Grain Stocks Report

The reports USDA releases March 31 will set the tone of agricultural trade for three months in Chicago.

Once every quarter the National Agricultural Statistics Service takes a census of the available bushels of corn, soybeans, and wheat. It is called the Grain Stocks report. It is not exactly a survey, but rather more of an actual accounting, in his case of what’s stored in Illinois, says NASS State Statistician Mark Schleusener, “…to measure the whole supply of grains and oilseeds USDA NASS does on farm surveys. Those are done with producers to find out what they have in their grain storage bins. Off farm storage tallies bushels in the mills and the elevators using a census as of March 1. All commercial storage facilities are contacted”.

Nationwide more than 9000 commercial storage facilities are contacted for the census side of the Grain Stocks report. The survey side - that done with farmers - is sent to more than 80,000 producers with an 80 percent response rate. The goal is to get a very accurate accounting of the bushels available for use.

Where the bushels are stored changes across the season. December 1 it is stored on farm. Through the winter months these bushels slowly move to the elevators and mills and eventually, in the case of corn, the bushels are shipped down the river for export, or fed to livestock, or turned into ethanol. The bushels are used.

If you add what’s used to what’s left - the Grain Stocks number - the sum should be the total available supply for the year. However, tracking the middle usage number for corn - bushels fed to livestock - isn’t possible. That’s why USDA calls this number Feed & Residual. This season it is supposed to be 5.3 billion bushels. The question is how much of that 5.3 billion has already been consumed. There in lies the guess says University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good.

Quote Summary - If the most recent pattern is being followed this year and USDA’s 5.3 billion bushel usage for the year is correct, then use for the first half the year should total 3.9 billion bushels with 1.7 of that used in the second quarter. If that is the case, the total use during the second quarter would have been 3.75 billion bushel and leave March 1 stocks at 7.45 billion.

On-the-other-hand, if the usage pattern is more like it was prior to 2010, there could be another 200 or 300 million bushels of corn accounted for in the Grain Stocks figure because it hasn’t yet been consumed. It will still be consistent with a 5.3 billion bushel usage figure for the year.

The Grain Stocks report for corn has a wide range then of acceptable figures from around 7.4 to 7.7 billion bushels. It makes the Grain Stocks number not so important, and puts a great deal more weight on the Prospective Plantings report to be released on the same date, March 31.


March 18, 2015

How Much Would a Corn Acre in 2015 Make

The ag economists at ILLINOIS have done an interesting exercise to see how much an acre of corn might gross in 2015. Or maybe it might be better explained as what would happen in 2015 if this year was like 1979.



Or what if it were like 2012, or 1983, or 1995, or just pick a year. The idea is to give farmers some hard data on how variable gross revenue from a corn acre is over time by moving that time into 2015. So that’s what U of I ag economists Gary Schnitkey did.

He wanted to look and see what gross revenues would be like for 2015 considering crop revenue, crop insurance, government payments, and price risk. The goal was to know under what conditions would a corn acre produce higher gross revenues this year?
 

 


The question then is, “In 2015 what would revenue be like this year if a year like 1972 happened?”.

"When we looked at it, 50% of the revenues were above and 50% of the revenues were below $825 per acre."

Schnitkey put those all into a table on the Farm Doc Daily website from 1972 to 2014. It shows how much of gross revenue would come from price x yield, crop insurance, and government payments.

 

At $825 most $300 an acre cash rented farms in central Illinois would lose money. Over the span of the years this would happen about 75% of the time and a big yield does not solve the problem - it takes higher prices from some other force. You may read the “Gross Revenues in 2015” article on the Farm Doc Daily website.


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