Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • April 2015 Cattle on Feed:
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 10.8 million head, up 0.05% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 670,000 head, no change from last year
       Iowa: <1,000 Head Feedlots: 635,000 head, up 6.7% from last year
  • March 2015 Cattle: Placements in Feedlots:
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 1.8 million head, up 0.4% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 90,000 head, up 26.8% from last year
       Iowa: <1,000 Head Feedlots: 60,000 head, up 20.0% from last year
  • March 2015 Cattle: Fed Cattle Marketing:
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 1.6 million head, down 1.7% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 79,000 head, up 14.5% from last year
       Iowa: <1,000 Head Feedlots: 57,000 head, down 20.8% from last year
  • May 2015 Price Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn $3.65 per bushel, down 5 cents from last month
       Soybean $10.05 per bushel, down 5 cents from last month
  • May 2015 Price Estimates for 2015/16 Crops:
       Corn $3.50 per bushel, steady with earlier estimates
       Soybean $9.00 per bushel, steady with earlier estimates
Crops
Old vs. New Crop (5/12/15)

With the May monthly reports, USDA provides an update on old crop data and a forecast on new crop information. For soybeans, the old crop news was mixed. Domestic crush and export demand were both raised by 10 million bushels. That lowered projected 2014/15 ending stocks by 20 million bushels, but that still leaves 350 million bushels in storage as we enter the next marketing year, more than triple what we had to begin this marketing year. But despite the increase in old crop demand, the season-average soybean price for 2014/15 was reduced by 5 cents to $10.05 per bushel. For the 2015/16 soybean crop, the acreage and yield remained steady with earlier USDA estimates. So the market is staring at 84.6 million acres of soybeans with an expected yield of 46 bushels per acre. The combination would produce 3.85 billion bushels of soybeans, the 2nd largest soybean crop on record. And while overall soybean demand is projected to be steady, domestic demand is seen increasing, while international demand is expected to fall slightly. Ending stocks are expected to build to 500 million bushels and the first official estimate of the 2015/16 season-average price is $9 per bushel.

The story for corn is a little different. Old crop demand is shrinking slightly, mainly in the food, seed, and industrial sector. Export demand is up 25 million bushels, but the nearly 50 million bushel drop in food, seed, and industrial use more than offset the international boost. 2014/15 ending stocks now top 1.85 billion bushels and the season-average price was lowered 5 cents to $3.65 per bushel. On the new crop, like with soybeans, the production numbers were unchanged from earlier estimates, 89.2 million acres planted with a yield of 166.8 bushels per harvested acre. So production is estimated at 13.63 billion bushels, projected to be the 3rd largest corn crop. New crop demand is expected to rise, with a 50 million bushel rise in feed demand, a 13 million bushel increase in food, seed, and industrial use, and a 75 million bushel growth in export demand. With the growth in demand, 2015/16 ending stocks are forecast to be roughly 1.75 billion bushels and the first official estimate of the 2015/16 season-average price is $3.50 per bushel.

Livestock
Cattle (5/1/15)

All market classes of beef cattle are at record high levels for this time of the year, but are lower than the all-time record highs established in the last half of 2014. Slaughter steer prices, weekly Iowa/Minnesota accumulated weighted average, peaked in November 2014 at an all-time record high of $169.93/cwt. Fed prices then declined to average about $162 in December 2014. Through the first four months of 2015 fed prices have generally ranged above last year from $158-169. Even though supplies are tight and retail beef demand has been strong, a number of fundamental factors are combing to pressure fed cattle prices. Average dressed weights have remained large following the sharp increase in late 2014 and have continued to offset some of the decrease in production due to reduced slaughter. Increased production of competing meats is also impacting fed cattle prices. While total beef production was down about 3.4% in the first quarter 2015, pork production was up 6.4%, broiler production was up 4.8%, and total red meat and poultry production was up 3.1%. For the entire year, USDA is projecting an increase in pork production of 6.1%, broiler production up 3.8%, and a 3.4% increase in total meat production.

Newsletter