Two Corn Yield Myths in 2017

by David A. Widmar

Large yields and growing grain stocks have been a driving force of commodity markets in recent years. Given the multi-year pressure on commodity prices, the annual question of ‘how big will the crop be’ seems to be even more relevant this year. While there is a lot of growing season – and planting – that remains, speculation began months ago. This week’s posts looks at two myths we’ve heard in recent months about yields and the 2017 corn crop. Continue reading

What if CRP Acres Increased?

ag trends. agricultural economic insights

by David A. Widmar

The Conservation Reserve Program (or CRP) has been in the news lately as members of Congress have called for an increase in acres. This was no surprise to us as we’ve previously written about trends in the CRP program and noted that conditions seem ripe for an expansion (here and here). Furthermore, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was quoted last year saying Congress would likely face pressure to “…rethink the cap on CRP.”

Given the latest CRP conversation, this week’s post takes an updated look at CRP trends and walks through a simple thought experiment to provide insights on what a reduction in U.S. crop production acres might look like. Continue reading

USDA Cost of Production Estimates Show Little Change from 2016

by Brent Gloy

According to the latest USDA cost of production estimates, U.S. farmers will find the 2017 cost of producing corn, soybeans, and wheat basically unchanged from 2016.  Combined with the outlook for flat to slightly better commodity prices, the cost of production estimates portray yet another year of challenging economic conditions throughout corn, soybean, and wheat country. Continue reading