The 2013 Illinois Crop Budgets showed $563 per acre in non-land
costs, and subtracting this from the estimated income left $409
for operator and land costs (source: Gary Schnitkey, University
of Illinois). That was figuring 198-bushel corn yields at $4.80
per bushel. Yields are somewhat variable, but the cash price is
running well short of the $4.80.
On the soybean side, the same crop budgets were figured on
57-bushel soybean yields at $11.75 per acre. The non-land costs
were estimated at $350 per acre, leaving $342 per acre for
operator return and land costs. Soybean yields have also had
some variation, but prices have allowed October sales above
The hay and pasture yields have also been affected by the
2012 drought and the 2013 drought.
Yes, we have once again experienced drought in the central
Illinois area, with moderate drought increasing the number of
acres affected as fall has progressed. The main difference was
that the 2013 year began with more moisture in the soil, and the
dry weather appeared about a month later than in 2012.
Hay supplies have remained tight, with relatively high
prices, and pastures have either been good or poor, depending on
the stand loss experienced last year.
Planting conditions were almost the exact opposite of 2012.
The 2013 growing season saw much later planting, cool conditions
through the first half of the season and cooler temperatures for
much of the summer. We managed to escape widespread damage from
an early frost, and that was a worry until we reached October.
The crop has also been slow to mature and dry down, but
September really moved things along quicker than expected with
unseasonably high temperatures.
Livestock producers continued to struggle financially
compared with producers having only crop production. Feed prices
remained high through the first half of the year, and this
limited returns on the additional labor involved in raising
livestock. When feed prices became more favorable, the livestock
prices began to decline. Raising livestock is still a tough
business from a physical and a financial standpoint.
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A major trend that seems to have caught hold is the "locally grown
food initiative." People want to know where their food is coming
from. There continues to be a move toward retailers buying what they
can locally, inclusion of locally grown items on the school lunch
menu and direct buying from farmers markets and roadside stands.
Several moderate and upscale restaurants have made their names on
preparing locally grown items. Locally grown items tend to be
fresher, have a better degree of ripeness and a better flavor when
served. This trend will continue, but for now, it remains a niche
market for specialty growers.
The 2014 prospects mirror the comments made in 2013: Prospects
will be dependent on rainfall received in the fall, winter and early
spring. Also, the law of supply and demand is alive and well. This
means that larger crops mean lower prices. Outside influences such
as the renewable fuels mandate, the possible move to including more
ethanol or soybean oil in fuels, larger numbers of animals consuming
feed grains and oilseeds, and various government programs will all
have an impact on this supply and demand.
The agriculture industry always looks forward to the next season
with optimism, and we are thankful for the bountiful harvest most
experienced in 2013.
University of Illinois Extension]