Iowa Farm Outlook & News

  • Apr. 2016 Prices for 2015/16 Crops:
       Corn $3.55 per bushel, down 5 cents from last month
       Soybean $8.75 per bushel, steady from last month
  • Mar. 2016 Stocks for 2015/16 Crops:
       Corn 7.81 billion bushels, up 1% from last year
       Soybean 1.53 billion bushels, up 15% from last year
  • Mar. 2016 Planted Area for 2016/17 Crops:
       Corn 93.6 million acres, up 6% from last year
       Soybean 82.2 million acres, down less than 1% from last year
  • Mar. 2016 Hogs & Pigs: All Hogs and Pigs
       U.S.: 67.644 million head, up 0.4% from last year
       Iowa: 20.200 million head, down 2.9% from last year
  • Mar. 2016 Hogs & Pigs: Breeding Herd
       U.S.: 5.98 million head, same as last year
       Iowa: 980,000 head, down 4.9% from last year
  • Mar. 2016 Hogs & Pigs: Market Hogs
       U.S.: 61.664 million head, up 0.4% from last year
       Iowa: 19.220 million head, down 2.8% from last year
April Demand Update (4/12/16)

The World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates update for April contained some modest changes for the crop balance sheets. For U.S. soybeans, the only changes were a 15 million bushel bump in export demand and a slight decline in seed demand, based on last month's Prospective Plantings report. Projected soybean ending stocks were lowered to 445 million bushels, but the midpoint of the 2015/16 season-average price range remains steady at $8.75 per bushel. For U.S. corn, the adjustments were mixed. Feed demand was reduced 50 million bushels, based on the quarterly disappearance pattern from the Grain Stocks report. Corn usage for ethanol was increased 25 million bushels as ethanol production has held near record levels over the 1st three months of the calendar year. Thus, corn ending stocks were raised 25 million bushels and the midpoint of the 2015/16 season-average price range fell 5 cents to $3.55 per bushel.

World corn production for 2015/16 was increased by 3 million metric tons, with 1 million of that going to increased imports for Mexico and Southeast Asia and 2 million projected to be held in stock. China's feed usage of corn is projected to rise by 2 million metric tons, but that increase is expected to be met by drawing down existing internal stocks. World soybean production for 2015/16 was lowered slightly as declines in Chinese and Indian production offset an increase from Argentina. Global soybean trade was raised, based on stronger exports to China, Japan, and Mexico.

Cattle (5/1/16)

An old market maxim says, "Sell your cows the first day of baseball season." The reason is slaughter cow prices typically advance about 15% from November lows to a May peak. That seasonal rally is falling short this year. November 2015 South Dakota slaughter cow (boning) prices averaged $76.03 per cwt. The average slipped to $75.60 per cwt in February, reversing the typical seasonal rise of nearly 7% over November. March prices averaged $76.53 per cwt, again well below the average seasonal rise of nearly 9% over November. April's average was about $77.82 per cwt. No seasonal slaughter cow price surge is likely in May. Cow prices may stay in the upper $70s per cwt through the normal May peak before dropping moderately this summer. Slaughter cow prices, like many agricultural commodities, will depend on spring and summer weather and moisture conditions. Favorable range and pasture conditions could reduce beef cow slaughter and lift prices. But persistent price weakness thus far, makes a counter-seasonal rally into summer unlikely.