Early corn yields have indicated a possible record in the making,
but they certainly aren’t all in the “bin buster” category. Factors
contributing to less than stellar yields in some fields include wet
weather, delayed planting, severe corn rootworm damage, nematode
damage, and disease problems.
Soybean yields have been widely ranging, with lower than average
yields in some fields and better than average in others. Frequently,
those two scenarios have played out in fields across the road from
each other, planted the same day, and using the same variety.
Possible reasons include the Sudden Death Syndrome disease, white
mold, and cyst nematode damage.
Farm income for 2014 and the projected income for 2015 is the big
Using figures from crop budgets on Central Illinois High
Productivity Land, University of Illinois economists project less
than $200 per acre from corn after soybeans and slightly over $200
per acre for soybeans after corn would be available to pay rent and
family living expenses for the upcoming season.
For a point of reference, the average cash rent for 2014 in Logan
County was reported at $308 per acre according to the National Ag
Statistics Service. The budgets show non-land costs at $585 for corn
after soybeans and $370 for soybeans after corn.
The actual number from Farm Business Farm Management Records show
positive income from corn in 2010 to 2012 of $156, $292, and $240
respectively. The red ink started in 2013 with a small loss of $14
per acre, and projected losses for the 2014 are $156 per acre.
The numbers may look worse as the estimates are still using $3.80
for the corn price for 2015 and $4.12 for 2014. If you’ve checked
the cash markets lately, the corn price is closer to $3.00.
On the positive side, livestock producers are probably experiencing
one of the better periods they have seen in quite a while. Prices
for their products are up, and the feed costs are down.
However this year or two certainly haven’t made up for the past 20
years where several livestock farms saw several generations of
equity disappear. Most everyone can attest to the higher prices for
livestock and products by simply going to the grocery store. Meat,
milk, and eggs have all increased dramatically.
And the age old adage does hold true: Input prices, such as prices
paid for feed or fertilizer; don’t come down as quickly as they go
up. The same is true for prices paid in the stores, at the pump, or
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There have also been “bumps in the road” such as the PED virus leading to baby
pig losses for pork producers. This has required sound management, and maybe a
little luck, to keep the black ink flowing.
Of course, weather has played a big role in the bumper crops we are looking at.
One reporting site in Logan County had 22.34 inches of rain from April through
September. And, I’m certain it was probably on the lower end of rainfall for the
county. Add in moderate to cool temperature, especially during pollination, and
the recipe for corn was complete. The same weather pattern has persisted during
harvest, making it a drawn out affair. Wet conditions, and a large crop,
definitely hindered the progress.
In summary, great growing conditions have led to a large crop to harvest. This
has been bittersweet as the market prices have plummeted to levels not seen in a
while. Livestock income is up, and crop income is down.
Pressure will be on crop producers to reduce costs and therefore maximize
profits – or minimize losses.
From an economic standpoint, the 2015 season looks to be a challenge for