Iowa Farm Outlook & News

  • October 2014 Cattle on Feed:
       U.S., 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 10.058 million head, down 0.5% from last year
       Iowa, 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 560,000 head, up 1.8% from last year
       Iowa, <1,000 Head Feedlots: 470,000 head, down 21.7% from last year
  • September 2014 Placements in Feedlots:
       U.S., 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 2.007 million head, up 1.0% from last year
       Iowa, 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 99,000 head, up 11.2% from last year
       Iowa, <1,000 Head Feedlots: 93,000 head, down 25.6% from last year
  • September 2014 Fed Cattle Marketings:
       U.S., 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 1.683 million head, down 0.5% from last year
       Iowa, 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 114,000 head, up 31.0% from last year
       Iowa, <1,000 Head Feedlots: 90,000 head, down 10.9% from last year
  • October 2014 Yield Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn 174.2 bushels per acre, up 2.5 bushels from last month
       Soybean 47.1 bushels per acre, up 0.5 bushels from last month
  • October 2014 Price Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn $3.40 per bushel, down 10 cents from last month
       Soybean $10.00 per bushel, steady with last month
Acreage Reduced, But Yields Offset (10/10/14)

Over the past couple of months, there had been significant discussion of crop acreage numbers and whether the USDA estimates would be adjusted downward. That adjustment occurred in the most recent reports. For corn, planted and harvested area were reduced by 700,000 acres. A similar downward adjustment took place for soybeans. But in both cases, the acreage losses were offset by higher yields so that total production continued to climb. The national average corn yield was raised 2.5 bushels to 174.2 bushels per acre. The corn yield estimates were raised in 22 states. And 22 states are projected to set state records as well. Illinois is projected at 200 bushels per acre. The jump in soybean yields isn't quite as dramatic, but the end result is the same, larger production. The national average is projected at 47.1 bushels per acre, up 0.5 bushels. 13 states are expected to have record yields.

Putting it all together, USDA estimates a 14.475 billion bushel corn crop and a 3.927 billion bushel soybean crop. Both, by far, the largest crops the country has ever produced. In comparison, the demand projections were little changed. Corn feed and residual use was increased by 50 million bushels. That was the only shift in projected demand for the 2014 crops. Estimates for the 2014/15 market year average prices dropped 10 cents for corn to a midpoint of $3.40 per bushel. For soybeans, the price estimates held steady, with a midpoint of $10 per bushel.

Livestock Economics (11/1/14)

Conditions in the cattle and hog finishing have improved dramatically in the past year after bouts of significant red ink during parts of the last several years. Those periods, of course, were characterized by significantly higher feed costs and, in some periods, relatively low output prices. Producers have long used ratios of livestock prices to corn prices or feed prices to gauge profitability. The steer & heifer-corn and hog-corn ratios have now returned to levels that, even relative to long-run historical levels indicate profits. The October ratio for cattle was 77% higher than one year ago. The hog ratio was 64% higher than one year ago.