Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • Dec. 2018 Hogs & Pigs:
       U.S.: Total Inventory: 74.55 million head, up 1.9% from last year
       U.S.: Breeding Herd: 6.326 million head, up 2.4% from last year
       U.S.: Market Hogs: 68.225 million head, up 1.9% from last year
  • Dec. 2018 Hogs & Pigs:
       Iowa: Total Inventory: 23.3 million head, up 2.2% from last year
       Iowa: Breeding Herd: 1.02 million head, up 2.0% from last year
       Iowa: Market Hogs: 22.28 million head, up 2.2% from last year
  • Nov. 2018 Yields for 2018/19 U.S. Crops:
       Corn 178.9 bushels per acre, down 1.8 bushels from last month
       Soybean 52.1 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last month
  • Nov. 2018 Stocks for 2018/19 U.S. Crops:
       Corn 1.813 billion bushels, down 77 million bushels from last month's estimate
       Soybean 955 million bushels, up 70 million bushels from last month's estimate
Livestock
Bred Cow Values Start 2019 Down From Prior Year (2/2/19)

Bred cow prices at auctions during January 2019 were down from a year earlier in the Midwest. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service reported average prices at the St. Joseph, Missouri auction for 1,200-1,300 pound medium and large frame #1 cows bred 4-6 months earlier at $1,380.00 per head in January versus an average price in January 2018 of $1,496.67, an 8% decline. The same comparison for 1,100-1,200 pound bred cows showed a 26% price decline and for 1,300-1,500 pound bred cows a 15% decline. Interest in purchasing breeding stock has been cautious relative to current spot and futures market pricing for calves and yearlings. Steer calf prices in Iowa during January were 6% lower than a year ago. Feeder cattle futures prices for delivery in November 2019 were 1% higher in January than one year earlier. In late-January, the November 2019 feeder cattle contract closed at $148.85 per cwt versus $149.50 a year earlier. The Livestock Marketing Information Center is projecting steer calf prices (500-to 600-pounds) in 2019 to average $167-$174 per cwt, which compares to the 2018 calf price average of $171.39. The forecast for yearlings (700-to 800-pounds) is $144-$150 per cwt, providing a reference point for current futures market values. The yearling price for 2018 was $150.00.

Crops
Sometimes a Big Crop Gets a Little Smaller (10/11/18)

The October crop update from USDA provided a bit of positive news as the estimated crops were a bit smaller than the trade expecting. For corn, the national yield estimate was reduced by 0.6 bushels to 180.7 bushels per acre. That lowered production by 49 million bushels. However, combined with the stocks news from the beginning of the month, total corn supplies are still larger at 16.97 billion bushels. The updates for corn usage were mixed, with feed and residual use dropping 25 million bushels and exports rising 75 million bushels. In the end, 2018/19 ending stocks are projected at 1.813 billion bushels, up 39 million bushels from last month's estimate, but down 327 million bushels from last year's level. USDA maintained the midpoint of their season-average price range at $3.50 per bushel.

For soybeans, there were mixed signals on production. Planted area was reduced by 400,000 acres and harvested area shrunk a half-million acres, but the national yield estimate increased by 0.3 bushels per acre to 53.1 bushels per acre. The end result is a production estimate that barely moved, holding at 4.69 billion bushels. Given the higher stock levels from the 2017/18 crop, total soybean supply is now estimated at 5.15 billion bushels. There were no substantive changes on the usage side, so the 2018/19 ending stock estimate rose to 885 million bushels, up 40 million from last month and 447 million from last year. As with corn, the midpoint of the season-average price range did not move, holding at $8.60 per bushel.

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