Iowa Farm Outlook & News

  • Oct. 2015 Cattle on Feed
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 10.218 million head, up 2.3% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 600,000 head, up 7.1% from last year
       Iowa: < 1,000 Head Feedlots: 510,000 head, up 8.5% from last year
  • Sept. 2015 Cattle: Feedlot Placements
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 1.931 million head, down 4.1% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 85,000 head, down 14.1% from last year
       Iowa: < 1,000 Head Feedlots: 59,000 head, down 36.6% from last year
  • Sept. 2015 Cattle: Fed Cattle Marketings
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 1.642 million head, down 2.4% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 101,000 head, down 11.4% from last year
       Iowa: < 1,000 Head Feedlots: 62,000 head, down 31.1% from last year
  • Nov. 2015 Price Estimates for 2015/16 Crops:
       Corn $3.65 per bushel, down 15 cents from last month
       Soybean $8.90 per bushel, down 25 cents from last month
  • Nov. 2015 Yield Estimates for 2015/16 Crops:
       Corn 169.3 bushels per acre, up 1.3 bushels from last month
       Soybean 48.3 bushels per acre, up 1.1 bushels from last month
Big Crops Get Bigger (11/10/15)

The November update from USDA found bigger corn and soybean crops than previously estimated. The national corn yield was raised to 169.3 bushels per acre, which added roughly 100 million bushels to estimated production. State-level yield estimates were higher in the northern and western Corn Belt, but lower to the south and east. The Iowa corn yield was set at 189 bushels per acre, which would be a record. The national soybean yield was also increased significantly, to 48.3 bushels per acre, adding again nearly 100 million bushels to the national total. The yield increases were more uniform across the country for soybeans, but Iowa is again projected to see a record yield for soybeans as well.

The supply strength, however, was coupled with some demand weakness. For corn, export and ethanol demand was reduced by a combined 125 million bushels. While feed demand increased 25 million bushels, the growth was not enough to offset the losses. For soybeans, USDA raised both crush and export demand from previous estimates, but the export number remains well below last year's level. Ending stocks grew for both crops. Corn ending stocks were projected at 1.76 billion bushels. Soybean ending stocks were set at 465 million bushels. And the season-average prices estimates were lowered as well. The midpoints on the price ranges now set at $3.65 per bushel for corn (down 15 cents) and $8.90 per bushel for soybeans (down 25 cents).

Cattle (11/1/15)

After holding between $145 and $150/cwt for much of the summer, nearby live cattle futures dropped to a low of $121.40/cwt on October 1. This $30/cwt decline, or even more extreme $45/cwt decline from the start of the year, has been attributed up to a number of factors, probably none more glaring than the increasingly burdensome supply of heavy fed cattle and the additional beef tonnage that goes with them. Year to date cattle slaughter is still down 5.5% but beef production so far this year is down only 2.8% with increased carcass weights making up the difference. The good news is that weights seem to have plateaued and the fed cattle market has gained some ground since the first of October. While it is impossible to guess how sustained this will be, it is certainly a good sign and should pull some cattle through the system, which is exactly what this market needs.