Why Soybean Acres Aren’t a Clear Winner in 2017

by David Widmar and Brent Gloy

If you ask three economists the same question, you’re likely to get (at least) three different answers. While soybean acres seem to have an advantage going into the Spring, particularly in Indiana and the Eastern Corn Belt, we thought it would be valuable to evaluate university crop budgets from across the Corn Belt.  This week’s post takes a look at recent crop budgets and why additional soybean acres in 2017 might not be a clear winner for producers in all regions of the country. Continue reading

Agriculture and Exchange Rates: It’s Complicated

by David A. Widmar

Even though trade is important to U.S. agriculture, exchange rates are often overlooked. Currency exchange rates have been an important topic in recent years as the Dollar has trended stronger- or become more expensive – since 2012 (we’ve written about here and here). This week’s post is an updated look at exchange rates and how trends changed in 2016.  Continue reading

Tight Budgets Likely to Persist in 2017

by Brent Gloy and David Widmar

(Brent and David originally wrote this piece for the Fall issue of The Feed, available here).

With planning for 2017 underway, many are finding the tight budget environment is likely to persist in 2017.  When evaluating the major row crops and major growing regions of the country, our crop budget estimates suggest that 2017 will be another challenging year for row crop producers.

While there has been a significant amount of negative news about the 2016 economic situation, there were some positives.  Perhaps the most important of these is costs of production declines.  This year saw some reductions in fertilizer and fuel prices, as well as, cash rents.  Unfortunately, higher crop prices and additional cost reductions will likely be necessary to restore profitability in 2017. Continue reading