Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • June 2017 Prices for 2016/17 Crops:
       Corn $3.35 per bushel, down 5 cents from last month
       Soybean $9.55 per bushel, steady with last month
  • June 2017 Prices for 2017/18 Crops:
       Corn $3.40 per bushel, steady with last month
       Soybean $9.30 per bushel, steady with last month
  • June 2017 Yields for 2017/18 Crops:
       Corn 170.7 bushels per acre, steady with last month
       Soybean 48.0 bushels per acre, steady with last month
  • June 2017 Pasture and Rangeland Conditions:
       U.S. 84% good to excellent, up 6% from last year
       IA 64% good to excellent, down 2% from last year
Livestock
Slaughter Statistics (6/8/17)

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service reports cattle and hog slaughter under federal inspection (F.I.) on a daily basis. Data are compiled by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service from USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (the agency that processors are required to report slaughter related data to). This data is further aggregated into weekly and monthly totals.

Every afternoon, USDA estimates that day's federally inspected slaughter along with the week to date total (Agricultural Marketing Service Market News Code SJ_LS710). Revisions often occur. Still, market participants closely watch daily and weekly slaughter for an indication if packers are caught short and need to chase supplies.

On Thursday, almost two weeks later, USDA releases the actual slaughter data on a weekly basis, along with a breakdown by type of animal, the average live and dressed weight, and the dressed weight of each type of animal (Market News Code SJ_LS711). The types referred to here include steers, heifers, cows, and bulls for cattle, and barrows/gilts, sows, and boars/stags for hogs.

Approximately three weeks after the end of the month, USDA releases these same statistics on a monthly basis (Livestock Slaughter Report). The monthly figures rarely impact daily trade but do provide more detail including average live and dressed weights and slaughter by state. Monthly numbers help put longer-term trends in perspective.

The monthly reports also combine animals slaughtered in Federally Inspected (FI) plants with data from State-administered Non Federally Inspected (NFI) slaughter plants to derive total commercial slaughter estimates. About 800 U.S. livestock slaughter plants operate under Federal Inspection and about 1,900 are Non-Federally Inspected (State-inspected or custom-exempt) slaughter plants.

Crops
First Official Estimates for 2017 Crops (5/11/17)

With the May release of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, we get the first official estimates for the upcoming corn and soybean crops. While the crop estimates are smaller than last year's record crop production, the projections show another set of large crops heading into the market this fall. With USDA estimating the corn trend yield at 170.7 bushels per acre, total corn production in 2017 is estimated just over 14 billion bushels. That is roughly 1 billion bushels less than last year, but is also still the 3rd largest corn crop in U.S. history, trailing only the 2014 and 2016 crops. Domestic demand for corn is projected to remain steady, but export demand is expected to decline, due to increased competition from other corn exporting countries, especially from South America. Meanwhile, the price outlook remains flat as USDA has the midpoints for their estimated ranges for the average farm prices for corn for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 crops at the same level, $3.40 per bushel.

For soybeans, USDA put the trend yield at 48 bushels per acre. Given the acreage from the Prospective Plantings report, that puts 2017/18 production at 4.255 billion bushels, down 52 million bushels from last year's record crop. The projections for soybean demand show continued growth in domestic and international sectors, but production is expected to slightly exceed usage. So ending stocks are projected to continue to rise and prices are expected to retreat. The current midpoints for the season-average farm prices are $9.55 per bushel for the 2016/17 crop and $9.30 per bushel for the 2017/18 crop.

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