Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • December 2014 Hogs and Pigs:
       U.S.: 66.05 million head, up 2.0% from last year
       Iowa: 20.90 million head, up 3.5% from last year
  • December 2014 Hog Breeding Herd:
       U.S.: 5.969 million head, up 3.7% from last year
       Iowa: 1.010 million head, up 4.1% from last year
  • December 2014 Market Hogs:
       U.S.: 60.082 million head, up 1.8% from last year
       Iowa: 19.890 million head, up 3.4% from last year
  • November 2014 Yield Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn 173.4 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushels from last month
       Soybean 47.5 bushels per acre, up 0.4 bushels from last month
  • December 2014 Price Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn $3.50 per bushel, held steady from last month
       Soybean $10.00 per bushel, held steady from last month
Crops
A Quiet Report (12/10/14)

There were very few changes in this month's USDA report. As is typical in December, the supply side estimates were left unchanged from the November numbers. And the demand changes were minor, but in a positive direction. Corn use for sweeteners was increased 10 million bushels. That was enough to lower 2014/15 ending stocks to just below the 2 billion bushel mark. For soybeans, exports continue to lead the demand charge. Soybean exports were raised 40 million bushels, to a record 1.76 billion. That reduced soybean ending stocks to 410 million bushels. However, for both crops, the midpoints of the season-average price ranges remained at last month's levels, $3.50 for corn and $10 for soybeans. It was a quiet report for the holiday season.

Livestock
Hogs and Pigs (12/31/14)

Significant attention perpetually surrounds possible changes in breeding herd inventories in the U.S. hog industry. Retail pork supplies are heavily dependent on breeding herd production decisions, namely the retention of gilts as replacements and the holding of sows for further breeding service as these decisions, along with commensurate pigs per litter, dictate the size of subsequent pig crops. USDA's December Hogs and Pigs report suggests growing prospects of expansion. The breeding herd inventory, at 5.969 million head, was up 3.7% compared to one year ago. This is the largest breeding herd inventory since June 2009. Breeding herd additions totaled 49,000 head during the September-November period. Sow utilization, September-November farrowings / September 1 breeding herd, at 48.8% was higher than 2013 (47.8%) and approaching the 2008-12 average (49.9%). Moreover, December-February 2014/15 sows farrowing, at 2.870 million head, would be up 3.9% compared to a year ago and March-May 2015 sows farrowing, at 2.900 million head, would be up 3.2%. With breeding herd inventories larger, sow utilization trending higher, and farrowings expected to be larger many factors are pointing towards expansion in the hog industry.

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