Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • August 2015 Cattle on Feed
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 10 million head, up 2.6% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 630,000 head, up 5.0% from last year
       Iowa: Less than 1,000 Head Feedlots: 540,000 head, up 12.5% from last year
  • July 2015 Fed Cattle Marketings
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 1.725 million head, down 3.5% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 80,000 head, up 8.1% from last year
       Iowa: Less than 1,000 Head Feedlots: 49,000 head, down 27.9% from last year
  • August 2015 Price Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn $3.70 per bushel, steady from last month
       Soybean $10.05 per bushel, steady from last month
  • August 2015 Price Estimates for 2015/16 Crops:
       Corn $3.65 per bushel, down 10 cents from last month
       Soybean $9.15 per bushel, down 10 cents from last month
  • August 2015 Yield Estimates for 2015/16 Crops:
       Corn 168.8 bushels per acre, down 2.2 bushels from last year
       Soybean 46.9 bushels per acre, down 0.9 bushels from last year
Crops
Trade Expected Smaller Crops, Got Bigger Ones (8/12/15)

In preparation for the release of the August USDA crop reports, the see-saw of uncertainty about crop production and yields went through another up-and-down cycle. The release of the reports accelerated the down cycle. The trade had anticipated smaller crop estimates from USDA, with the average estimates weighing in with yields of 164.5 bushels per acre for corn and 44.7 bushels per acre for soybeans. USDA reported yield estimates of 168.8 bushels per acre for corn and 46.9 bushels per acre for soybeans. Even with a slight downshift in soybean plantings, corn and soybean production estimates increased and put the 2015 crop year on pace to be a very strong production year despite all of the weather issues. And while there was some positive news on the demand front with feed and ethanol demand increasing, stock levels are on the rise and price estimates retreated. USDA's season-average price estimates for the 2015/16 crops dropped by 10 cents for both corn and soybeans. They now stand at $3.65 per bushel for corn and $9.15 per bushel for soybeans.

Livestock
Dairy in the Beef Market (8/28/15)

The dairy cowherd is becoming more-and-more a component of the fed beef system. Declining beef cattle inventories and declining veal slaughter (most of which is dairy calves) mean that dairy animals accounted for an increased share of the 2014 calf crop. Dairy calves are typically placed on feed at very light weights and stay in feedlots up to a year. This means relatively large numbers of dairy calves are impacting fed cattle markets in 2015. The Livestock Marketing Information Center estimates an additional 206,000 head of dairy calves will enter feedlots in calendar year 2015.

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