Iowa Farm Outlook & News

  • Oct. 2019 Cattle on Feed:
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 11.278 million head, down 1.1% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 640,000 head, down 7.2% from last year
       Iowa: >1,000 Head Feedlots: 480,000 head, down 7.7% from last year
  • Sept. 2019 Cattle Placements:
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 2.093 million head, up 2.0% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 82,000 head, down 7.9% from last year
       Iowa: >1,000 Head Feedlots: 85,000 head, up 63.5% from last year
  • Sept. 2019 Cattle Marketings:
       U.S.: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 1.738 million head, up 1.1% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 70,000 head, down 6.7% from last year
       Iowa: >1,000 Head Feedlots: 80,000 head, up 60.0% from last year
  • Nov. 2019 WASDE:
       U.S. Corn Yield: 167.0 bushels per acre, down 1.4 bushels from last month
       U.S. Soybean Yield: 46.9 bushels per acre, steady with last month
       2019/20 U.S. Corn Ending Stocks: 1.91 billion bushels, down 19 million from last month
       2019/20 U.S. Soybean Ending Stocks: 475 million bushels, up 15 million from last month
       2019/20 U.S. Corn Price: $3.85 per bushel, up 5 cents from last month
       2019/20 U.S. Soybean Price: $9.00 per bushel, steady with last month
Pork (11/7/19)

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service publishes a weekly retail feature activity report for pork. This report provides a summary of weighted average prices for pork cuts being promoted or featured in supermarkets. The retail pork feature activity index tends to spike during major holiday times of year, namely Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hams are a big part of holiday features. This year has seen a similar pattern of holiday features, but pork feature levels have fallen short of both year ago and five-year average levels. Through October, volume of pork retail features averaged 11% lower than a year ago and 14% lower than the five-year average. According to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service Cold Storage report, September saw a significant drawdown in ham inventories, likely in large part due to strong demand in export markets, especially Mexico. Mexico is by far the largest buyer of U.S. export hams. Fresh and frozen ham products are the majority of hams sent to Mexico. Total ham inventories at the end of September were 6% lower than a year ago and 12% lower than the five-year average before that. Ham prices have been supported by the tight supply of hams in the freezer. Consumers who choose to wait or look for good deals, will likely find some good prices. This is because of retail features which could be price discounts or non-price promotions such as buy one, get one free. It is not unusual for ham prices to soften in late November and December as seasonal demand wanes once holiday purchases are completed, and end users work down inventories while at the same time weekly hog slaughter hits some of the highest levels for the year.

Slight Adjustments (11/8/19)

The November WASDE and Crop Production reports had very slight adjustments for the corn and soybean markets. The national corn yield estimate was lowered 1.4 bushels per acre, to 167 bushels per acre. While in general, state yields were reduced, USDA did find some evidence to increase yield estimates in Indiana, Ohio, and Alabama. Iowa and Illinois estimates remained at last month's levels, 192 and 179 respectively. The yield drop translated into 118 million reduction in corn production. So corn supplies are declining, but corn usage is falling nearly as quickly. Feed and residual use was lowered by 25 million bushels. Corn usage for ethanol was brought down 25 million bushels as well. And exports took the largest reduction, falling 50 million bushels. But, at least for this month, supplies fell faster than usage, so ending stocks fell 18 million bushels to 1.91 billion bushels. With the lowering of the stocks, USDA raised its season-average price estimate 5 cents to $3.85 per bushel. For soybeans, there was no change to the national yield estimate, holding at 46.9 bushels per acre. The Iowa soybean yield estimate remains at 53 bushels per acre as well. With no changes on the production side, the slight drop in crush (15 million bushels) was the only real adjustment. So 2019/20 ending stocks are raised to 475 million bushels, but the season-average price estimate remains at $9 per bushel.