Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • Nov. 2017 Cattle on Feed:
       U.S., 1,000+ head: 11.332 million head, up 6.3% from last year
       Iowa, 1,000+ head: 690,000 head, up 15.0% from last year
       Iowa, 1-999 head: 470,000 head, down 6.9% from last year
  • Nov. 2017 Cattle on Feed: Oct. Placements
       U.S., 1,000+ head: 2.393 million head, up 10.2% from last year
       Iowa, 1,000+ head: 142,000 head, up 10.1% from last year
       Iowa, 1-999 head: 106,000 head, up 16.5% from last year
  • Nov. 2017 Cattle on Feed: Oct. Marketings
       U.S., 1,000+ head: 1.801 million head, up 5.6% from last year
       Iowa, 1,000+ head: 99,000 head, up 3.1% from last year
       Iowa, 1-999 head: 70,000 head, up 29.6% from last year
  • Nov. 2017 Prices for 2017/18 Crops:
       Corn $3.20 per bushel, steady with last month
       Soybean $9.30 per bushel, up 10 cents from last month
  • Nov. 2017 Yield for 2017/18 U.S. Crops:
       Corn 175.4 bushels per acre, up 3.6 bushels from last month
       Soybean 49.5 bushels per acre, steady with last month
  • Nov. 2017 Yield for 2017/18 Iowa Crops:
       Corn 197.0 bushels per acre, up 6 bushels from last month
       Soybean 56.0 bushels per acre, steady with last month
Livestock
Red Meat (12/1/17)

Total U.S. red meat and poultry production are often noted as being "record high", which is correct this year and last. The Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) forecasts this occur through 2019. However, production levels need to be put in context. From 1960 through 2016, 40 of the 56 years set new all-time highs. That is 71% of the year's set new highs. Records are typical, not abnormal. LMIC projects that among U.S. red meat (beef, pork, lamb, and veal), only commercial pork production will set a new all-time high this year (25.6 billion pounds). Beef production in 2017 is expected to be about 26.2 billion pounds; the largest since 2011. Lamb and veal production in 2017 eroded to 230.6 million pounds, a new low. Overall, U.S. production of red meat will set a new high this year at about 52 billion pounds. Poultry production (chicken and turkey), led by chicken, is projected to set a new all-time high (Federally Inspected output of 47.6 billion pounds) in 2017. Turkey output is expected to be slightly below a year ago. Further insight is provided by calculating disappearance, or consumption, on a per person basis. Besides accounting for population growth, this calculation subtracts exports, adds imports, and adjusts for changes in cold storage stocks. Retail weight per capita disappearance of total red meat and poultry in 2017 is projected to be the largest since 2008, not record large. LMIC projects this year's U.S. per person beef disappearance will be the largest since 2012. For pork, due mostly to large exports, per person disappearance in 2017 is expected to be about the same as in 2016. Combined chicken and turkey disappearance in 2017 is likely to be slightly above the record level a year ago. Drilling down into the production levels shows large supplies of most red meat and poultry, but not unheard of levels. Looking at the retail weight per person story is important. It gives insight, among other things, to how exports have absorbed much of the increased production, helping to support prices.

Crops
What the Market Didn't Want to Hear (11/9/17)

USDA released its November updates today and the numbers were not what the markets wanted to hear. Corn supplies continue to charge higher as yields are better than expected, reaching another surprising record. Corn usage is still relatively strong, but the projected changes in feed and export use are not enough to stop another increase in ending stocks and a continuation of lower prices. Soybean supplies were already projected at record levels, so the small production adjustment by USDA today did not change that outlook. And the adjustments to soybean usage do not change the general story in that market as well. So it was an update we needed, but did not want.

Looking within the numbers, the big push in production came from the northern corn crop. State estimates from North Dakota to Indiana jumps 6 to 8 bushels per acre as the corn harvest reaches its latter stages. The fears of the yield impacts from this year's drought turned out to be much larger than the actual yield impacts. With the national yield now projected at a record 175.4 bushels per acre, the record national yield will be set without Illinois, Indiana, or Iowa being at a record as well.

For soybeans, the bigger storyline is the global supply and demand situation. Usage is up, but supplies continue to grow faster. Overall, Chinese imports of soybeans from all sources are projected to reach 97 million tons (or 3.56 billion bushels), up 3.5 million tons from last year. But global soybean usage is not enough to prevent global ending stocks from growing another 1.6 million tons over the current marketing year.

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