Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • March 2014 Hogs and Pigs: Inventory of all hogs and pigs
       U.S. 62.9 million head, down 3.3% from last year
       Iowa 19.8 million head, down 1.5% from last year
  • March 2014 Hogs and Pigs: Inventory of breeding herd
       U.S. 5.85 million head, up 0.3% from last year
       Iowa 1.01 million head, down 1.0% from last year
  • March 2014 Hogs and Pigs: Inventory of market hogs
       U.S. 57.0 million head, down 3.7% from last year
       Iowa 18.8 million head, down 1.5% from last year
  • March 2014 U.S. Planted Acreage Estimates:
       Corn 91.7 million acres, down 3.7 million from 2013
       Soybean 81.5 million acres, up 5 million from 2013
  • March 2014 Price Estimates for 2013/14 Crops:
       Corn $4.50 per bushel, steady with February
       Soybean $12.95 per bushel, up 25 cents from February
  • February 2014 Price Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn $3.90 per bushel
       Soybean $9.65 per bushel
Crops
Stocks and Acres (4/5/14)

The markets got a double barrel of USDA reports at the end of March with the Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports. And the news was mostly positive for prices. Looking at the old crops, demand has rebounded well as 2nd quarter usage for both corn and soybeans was much stronger than last year. Stock estimates were roughly in line with pre-trade estimates. For the new crops, corn plantings came in lighter than pre-trade expectations, but soybean plantings were above estimates. With 91.7 million acres intended for corn, it will be the smallest planting in three years. While overall corn area is shrinking, Iowa's corn plantings are expected to increase as the prevented planting area from last year comes into corn. For soybeans, it's a record 81.5 million acres headed for planting. That's a jump of 5 million acres, with the gains in acreage coming from seemingly everywhere. The biggest area to watch is North Dakota as farmers there intend to plant a million more soybean acres than last year.

Livestock
Hogs and Pigs Report (4/1/14)

Hog futures have mounted an impressive rally since the beginning of 2014. Much of the run-up has been due to speculation that the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, or PEDv, has created a significant tightening of supplies that will be felt mostly during the June through August period. This anticipatory rally has bolstered hog futures by +25% to +30% through the October 2014 contract. June through August is a time of the year when hog supplies are seasonally low so any expectations of tighter than anticipated supplies can chase prices upward rather decisively. There are still a fair amount of questions to be answered regarding the risk posed by PEDv to hog supplies longer-term and until these questions are answered expect a significant risk premium to be priced into hog futures. On March 28, USDA released the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report reporting inventories as of March 1, 2014. The estimates provide another measuring stick for the supply of hogs on the ground and possible hog slaughter numbers during the spring and summer months. All inventory numbers came in significantly higher than pre-report estimates. The question now becomes how much will the futures market react to the report. The market had an anticipatory rally beginning early 2014 and this report, in several regards, does not favor a confirming rally. But, with the lack of a clear indication yet of forthcoming supplies the psychology of the market may remain somewhat in flux, ever responding to new signals as they become available.

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