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Farmland Values, Cash Crop Prices Could Stabilize By 2019

Indiana’s record soybean harvest and near-record corn harvest are all but complete.

Now, the cash crop market may slowly be making its way out of a low-earning period, says Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

But this year’s large harvest couldn’t save Indiana producers’ profit margins. With commodity prices at 10-year lows and farming costs remaining high, the state’s approximately $500 million in agricultural earnings will still fall short of better years.

Those high yields are part of what’s pulled prices down. They’re also lowering farmland values, which are set to complete a 20 percent drop from 2014 highs by the end of next year.

But Hurt says that’s not as bad as it sounds – it’s a moderation, not a crash.

And as for commodity prices, he says farmers will cut back corn and wheat acreage next year to offset the cheapening effects of oversupply, planting more soybeans instead.

It’ll boost profit margins only a little in the short term, Hurt says.

“But we think it’s going to be about 2019 before they can really get back to a breakeven situation, where their total cost of production is basically covered by the prices they receive in the marketplace,” he says.

Until then, he says food prices will also be low at the grocery store. In fact, they’ve stayed lower for longer in the past year than in more than half a century.

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