Will Prevented Planting Acres Spring a Surprise?

by David Widmar

There has been a lot of talk about Spring planting progress and yield concerns in light of cool, wet May weather. Further speculation about the 2017 crop has been fueled by media reports of higher than normal replant acres. While there is little doubt the weather has resulted in reduced yield potential for some, it’s likely too early to understand what the overall, national impacts might be. While yields are important, an often overlooked weather impact is prevented plantings; acres that were intended for planting but never happened. This week’s post take a look at historic prevented planting acres and considers the impact of a swing in these acres. Continue reading

Who Hasn’t Had Big Crop Yields During the Ag Slowdown?

By Brent Gloy & David Widmar

Since 2014, U.S. farmers have managed to produce very large corn, soybean, and wheat crops. These, and large crops around the world, have weighed on prices and created a major economic downturn for U.S. farmers.  While record large crops have meant most farmers have enjoyed high yields, U.S. production takes place across a very wide and diverse geography.  As such, some producers have seen high yields while others may have been less fortunate.

This week we look at county level corn, soybean, and wheat yields to better understand how crop yields have varied across the country during the economic downturn.  Areas where yields have been particularly high should have weathered the economic downturn better than areas where yields may not have been quite so good. Continue reading

Wheat Basis Begins Recovery

by David Widmar

While the economic outlook for U.S. agriculture has been bleak in recent years, the challenge has been especially difficult for wheat producers. As evidence of these tough times, U.S. wheat acres, which have trended lower since the early 1980s, tumbled to new lows in 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, Brent previously examined the relationship between wheat and corn prices and found current wheat prices are historically low.

One of the most evident challenges wheat producers have faced in recent years has been a historically large gap between future prices – the price traded on the board of trade – and local cash prices. This difference –known as ‘basis’ – has been historically wide and creates challenges for producers’ marketing plans. This week’s post considers wheat basis data at three locations to look at the current situation as well as historical conditions. Continue reading