Iowa Farm Outlook & News

Headlines
  • February 2015 Cattle on Feed:
       U.S., 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 10.711 million head, up 0.3% from last year
       Iowa, 1,000+ Head Feedlots: 660,000 head, no change from last year
       Iowa, <1,000 Head Feedlots: 615,000 head, up 0.8% from last year
  • January 2015 Yield Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn 171.0 bushels per acre, down 2.4 bushels from last month
       Soybean 47.8 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushels from last month
  • February 2015 Price Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn $3.65 per bushel, steady with from last month
       Soybean $10.20 per bushel, steady with 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
Meat Prices (3/3/15)

Tight supplies - of cattle, of beef - have contributed to unprecedented prices at every level of the market. Retail beef, wholesale beef, fed cattle, feeder cattle, calves, cull cattle - every part of the industry is witnessing record prices. Consider retail beef prices - the All Fresh beef retail price for January 2015 was $6.00 per pound (figure 1). This price was 0.3% higher than in December and 18.9% higher than one year ago. The Choice beef price of $6.333 per pound was 0.4% higher than in December and 18.5% higher than one year ago. That makes 20 record highs in the past 21 months for the All-Fresh beef price and makes 11 record highs in the past 12 months for the Choice beef price. Competing meats will be particularly important as beef pushes to even higher prices. Both pork and poultry production are expected to increase in 2015, providing more competition with increased availability and moderate prices. That competition has already started - the retail price of pork in January was $3.989 per pound, down 0.1% from December and January's broiler composite price was $1.978 per pound, 0.8% lower than that of December.

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