AMES, Iowa – Crop and livestock producers can get a glimpse of where markets are headed in the February edition of Ag Decision Maker.
Many resources are available, including an article by Chad Hart, Professor of Economics and Grain Markets Specialist at Iowa State, on the impact of the South American drought on crop production; and an article by Lee Schulz, associate professor of economics and livestock economist at Iowa State, on the expansion of Iowa’s beef cattle herd. (Note: The articles were written before Russia’s military escalation, which has and will have significant implications for agricultural markets; in general, rising crop futures prices and falling livestock futures prices. )
Information files on basic livestock levels in Iowa and historical livestock prices are also available.
The United States Department of Agriculture is showing further downward movement in South American agricultural production, according to the February report, and crop prices are rising.
Futures prices are showing strength through 2024, with corn futures above $5 and soybean futures above $12.50. While crop prices have remained high enough to cover inputs and provide solid profit opportunities, Hart said growers should remember what happened in 2013.
“This situation reminds me a lot of the 2013 marketing year, when we started the year with high prices and profit windows, but we ended the year with lower prices and difficult returns,” said- he declared. “While I hope we won’t say it again, it’s a good reminder that now is the time to put a marketing plan in place to capture and protect the healthy returns the markets offer.”
In his article, “Iowa’s beef cow herd is on the move,” Schulz says, Iowa now ranks 10th for beef cows, up from 13th a year ago. The state’s 925,000 beef cows represent an increase of 65,000 head from last year – the largest gain of any state. Idaho increased by 34,000 head and Minnesota by 25,000.
“The beef cow herd is the foundation of the total cattle inventory and Iowa appears to be leading the national herd by about two years in the current cattle cycle,” according to Schulz.
Schulz says producers can use knowledge of the livestock cycle to improve the profitability of their farms, if they do two basic things. First, buy low and sell high, and second, find out what other producers are doing and do something different. Obviously, these are easier said than done.
The Livestock Market Outlook article and backgrounders examine current and historical inventory, price projections, and planning information.
Iowa State University’s Women in Ag program, along with Webster County Extension staff, will host an Advanced Grain Marketing for Women program, beginning March 3 at Fort Dodge for those interested in learning more about the prospects of the crop market.
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Shareable photo: Beef cattle in a harvested corn field.