Iowa Farm Outlook & News

  • January 2015 All Cattle and Calves:
       U.S.: 89.80 million head, up 1.4% from last year
       Iowa: 3.90 million head, up 2.6% from last year
  • January 2015 Calf Crop:
       U.S.: 33.80 million head, up 0.5% from last year
       Iowa: 1.05 million head, up 2.9% 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
  • 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
  • January 2015 Price Estimates for 2014/15 Crops:
       Corn $3.65 per bushel, up 15 cents from last month
       Soybean $10.20 per bushel, up 20 cents from last month
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.

Cattle (2/8/15)

USDA's annual cattle inventory report confirmed what the industry had been suspecting for the past year - the national cattle herd is on the build. Final estimates, except the number of cattle on feed, were above the range of pre-report expectations. The extraordinary prices paid for feeder calves over the past year has encouraged cow-calf producers to build their herds by both culling fewer mature cows and heifer retention. The U.S. beef cow herd grew by 2.1% in 2014 to 29.7 million head. Nearly 5.8 million head of replacement beef heifers are destined to enter the national beef breeding herd, 4.1% more than January 1, 2014. This is the fourth year in a row that heifer retention has increased. Heifer retention will, however, continue to have an impact on feeder cattle availability. Feeder cattle supply numbers, though larger than last year, are still at historically tight levels. Bottom line: This report does not change market fundamentals much, if any, in 2015. The fact that there are more cows than expected does not change the timing of beef production in 2015.