March 21, 2017

Historical Planted Acre Changes for Corn and Soybeans

At its annual Agricultural Outlook Conference in February, USDA projected that planted acres of corn would decrease from 94.0 million acres in 2016 to 90.0 million in 2017, a decrease of 4 million planted acres. At the same time, soybean acres are projected to increase from 83.4 million acres in 2016 to 88.0 million in 2017, an increase of by 4.6 million acres. Herein, we evaluate historical changes in acres across counties, thereby providing perspective on where likely 2017 acreage changes may occur.

March 20, 2017

Weekly Outlook: Anticipating the March 1 Soybean Stocks Estimate

On March 31, the USDA will release the quarterly Grain Stocks report, with estimates of crop inventories as of March 1, and the annual Prospective Plantings report. For soybeans, the stocks estimate is typically overshadowed by the estimate of planting intentions. Usually, the quarterly stocks estimates for corn garners more interest because these reports reveal the pace of feed and residual use which is a large component of total corn consumption. The March 1 soybean stocks estimate this year may not provide much new information despite recent growth in marketing year ending stocks and concerns about the size of the South American crop.

March 17, 2017

Then and Now - Machinery Values

This article reviews machinery values from a group of Illinois grain farms at two points in time. Total machinery value and machinery value per acre are reviewed from periods that are ten years different in time.

  • Authors: Bradley Zwilling, Dwight Raab and Brandy Krapf
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March 16, 2017

Reviewing Farm Bill History: Budgets, Boll Weevils and the 1981 Farm Bill

The second in this series reviewing farm bill history looks for lessons in the 1981 Farm Bill debate. It took place in the early stages of what became the second great farm economic crisis which consumed much of the 1980s.

March 15, 2017

On the Value of Ethanol in the Gasoline Blend

There has been much debate and much written about the likely costs and benefits of including ethanol in the domestic gasoline supply. Costs and benefits fall into two major categories--environmental and economic. One economic consideration is the potential impact on domestic gasoline prices from augmenting the gasoline supply with biofuels. A second economic consideration, and one that has received the most attention, is the cost of ethanol relative to petroleum-based fuel. What has been missing from the analysis of the value of ethanol in the gasoline blend is an estimate of the net value of ethanol based on: i) an energy penalty relative to gasoline; and ii) an octane premium based on the lower price of ethanol relative to petroleum sources of octane. This article provides an analysis of that net value since January 2007.

  • Authors: Scott Irwin and Darrel Good
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