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

Wheat Prices: How Low is Low?

wheat

by Brent Gloy

As we pointed out in an earlier article, the economic situation surrounding wheat production is particularly tenuous.  Today wheat prices are very low and the economics of producing wheat are particularly poor.  In some areas of the Great Plains cash wheat prices are within cents per bushel of cash corn prices. For instance, you can see the Kansas bids here, Nebraska here.  This situation made us wonder about wheat price levels and the value of wheat relative to corn has evolved over time. Continue reading