Three years of bumper crops collided with the Sino-U.S. trade war to create the largest U.S. soybean stockpile ever, a price-depressing 1 billion bushels at the start of this month. But by next Sept. 1, the so-called carry-over will be just two-thirds of its current size, estimated the USDA on Thursday.
For the first time since the 2014 farm bill was implemented, the USDA is giving farmers the option of changing enrollment between the insurance-like Agriculture Risk Coverage and the traditionally designed Price Loss Coverage subsidies.
Farmland values are falling for the fifth year in the Midwest, and one factor in the decline is “muted expectations for farm income” this year, said the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank on Thursday. “The profitability of many corn and soybean farms will almost surely fall from their 2018 levels — possibly by a lot for some.”
Agricultural lenders expect farm income, which weakened in the spring, to continue to decline this summer, although a recent rally in corn, soybean, and wheat prices will act as a stabilizer, said Federal Reserve banks in Kansas City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis on Thursday.
Spring flooding in the northern Plains and western Corn Belt will have a marginal impact on corn and soybean plantings, according to a USDA survey of growers and initial tallies of flooded land. With normal weather and yields, there would be limited impact on production of the two most widely grown U.S. crops, thanks to the huge amount of cropland nationwide.
The United States is awash in soybeans, the result of the trade war with China and a string of bumper crops. But although farmers were expected to respond by planting more corn this year while cutting back sharply on soybeans, it's no longer clear that this rush to corn will actually occur.
The White House is looking for additional progress in negotiations this week to resolve the Sino-U.S. trade war even as it cautions that “much work remains.” Agriculture is among the structural issues under discussion, according to the administration.
After hitting a pothole in 2018, U.S. net farm income will recover this year under the combined effects of financial belt-tightening and rising crop prices, said the USDA on Thursday. It projected net farm income of $77.6 billion in 2019, which would be the highest total since the commodity boom collapsed in 2014.
Farmers typically try to stretch their dollars during the summer in the expectation that payday will arrive with the fall harvest. Not this year. Ag bankers report the largest summertime increase in non-real-estate loan volume in 16 years and it was driven primarily by demand for operating loans to pay day-to-day expenses, said a quarterly Federal Reserve report.
Sharp declines in the dairy and sugar prices, dropping by 6 percent or more in a month, pulled down the monthly Food Price Index to its lowest level this year, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The index, which measures international prices for a basket of commodities, had been rising steadily until June.