Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • March 2015 Hogs and Pigs, All Hogs and Pigs:
       U.S.: 65.9 million head, up 7.2% from last year
       Iowa: 20.4 million head, up 4.6% from last year
  • March 2015 Hogs and Pigs, Breeding Herd:
       U.S.: 5.98 million head, up 2.2% from last year
       Iowa: 1.03 million head, up 2.0% from last year
  • March 2015 Hogs and Pigs, Market Hogs:
       U.S.: 60.0 million head, up 7.7% from last year
       Iowa: 19.4 million head, up 4.8% from last year
  • March 2015 Price Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn $3.70 per bushel, up 5 cents from last month
       Soybean $10.20 per bushel, steady with last month
  • March 2015 Acreage Estimates for 2015/16 Crops:
       Corn 89.2 million acres, down 1.4 million acres from last year
       Soybean 84.6 million acres, up 0.9 million acres from last year
Crops
Ready to Plant (3/31/15)

Farmers provided their first outlook on the 2015 crop year with the release of USDA's Prospective Plantings report. And the general shift is along the lines that the market expected. Corn planting intentions came in at 89.2 million acres. That's 200,000 acres more than USDA's early estimate and a half of million acres more than the average trade guess, but it's still 1.4 million acres less than was planted last year. Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa all reduced corn intentions slightly, but there are offsetting increases on the fringes of the Corn Belt. The largest moves are in Minnesota, up 300,000 acres, and South Dakota, down 600,000 acres. Soybean planting intentions are at a record 84.6 million acres. That is well above USDA's early estimate of 83.5 million acres, but below the average trade guess at 85.9 million acres. The I-states all increased soybean intentions, with Iowa topping 10 million acres. The big movers are Nebraska, down 300,000 acres, and Ohio, up 250,000 acres. Given USDA's trend yields, the acreage numbers imply expected crops of 13.625 billion bushels for corn and 3.85 billion bushels of soybeans.

These projected large crops are coming on top of last year's record crops. The Grain Stocks report was also released today and it showed more crop still sitting in storage. Soybean stocks came in at 1.33 billion bushels, up 34 percent from last year, even though disappearance was slightly higher. Corn stocks stand 7.74 billion bushels, up 11 percent from last year, as disappearance was basically flat. The main punchline from today's reports is that supplies continue to build and while demand is growing, it will take a while to work through the expected production. Prices have lowered to reflect this and these reports don't change that dynamic.

Livestock
Hogs (4/1/15)

The USDA March Hogs and Pigs report came in near trade expectations and indicated larger pork supplies ahead. One of the largest increases of any one category was the Dec-Feb pig crop, which will produce the third quarter slaughter, was 9.2% higher than a year ago. Supplies for the coming 12 months are forecast to exceed year earlier levels, but the greatest concern for prices and profits is in the fourth quarter. While disastrously low prices are not currently forecast, larger than expected increases in Mar-May sows farrowing or weaning rates could push total fourth quarter slaughter levels higher and further pressure prices.

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