University of Illinois Extension

Illini Farm Report


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Illini Farm Report

Todd E. Gleason

1301 W. Gregory Dr., Rm 75 MC710

Urbana, Illinois 61801

217-333-9697 or


August 22, 2014


Dear Broadcaster:


The Illini Farm Report is for use in your agricultural radio programming slots. You are welcome to run each story "as is," or to lift actualities from it. For your editing convenience, the scripts used for each story are included in this document. If you have any problems with the audio, story ideas, or suggestions for improvements, please call me at 217-3339697.


1          Harvested Acreage & Crop Size


2          Is the Price of Farmland at Risk


3          Optimistic Corn Consumption







The opinions expressed on the Illini Farm Report are not necessarily those of the program producer, the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences or U of I Extension. Our programs feature a wide range of viewpoints in the interest of promoting awareness and discussion of issues that are important to the agricultural community.


CUT 1  Harvested Acreage & Crop Size

Darrel Good, Ag Economist – University of Illinois


The debate is on! Farm country wants to know just how big the U.S. corn crop might be when harvested this fall. “Harvested” is the important word in the mix. Todd Gleason has more on how the number of harvest acres affects the size of the crop no matter the average yield – big or small.


The numbers of corn acres harvested in the United States…



The numbers of corn acres harvested in the United States has ranged from about two-point-four million acres less to seven-hundred-fifty thousand more than the USDA June Acreage forecast since 1996. The average difference from June to the final USDA forecast for harvested acres over that time span is a decline of about 400,000 acres. University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good says the estimate actually dropped in 13 of the last 18 years.


Good :32 The larger declines were in years of late planting…

in eleven of the 18 years.


This year a larger percentage of the corn crop was planted late. This has some implications based on the historical data.


Good :21  A late planted crop along with an historical…

of 690,000 acres.


The range was wide; from twenty-eight-thousand to two million. Darrel Good says he would not be surprised if this year’s corn acreage dropped 500 to 700 thousand acres. On the flip side of that coin, soybeans, there’s not much to go in the historical patterns. Still, if you really look, you might find a slight tendency for the final estimate to be less than the June forecast. In the years this actually happened the average drop was about 700 hundred thousand acres.


Good says he expects harvested acreage for both crops to decline from the current USDA forecast.




CUT 2             Is the Price of Farmland at Risk

Bruce Sherrick, Center for Farmland Research – University of Illinois


Landowners are a lot worried these days about how much their farms are worth. Todd Gleason has more on how the downturn in commodity prices may not exactly signal a big set back in the price of farmland.


Farms in the United States have grown dramatically…



Farms in the United States have grown dramatically in value since 2006. This rapid push upward coincided with a huge increase in the price of commodities grown on farms throughout the nation and specifically in the Midwest. Prior to 2006 a high price for corn might be above three dollars a bushel. It topped out above eight dollars. And the three-dollar mark? Well that is now a guaranteed loss for the farmer, most likely. However, farmers are looking at three dollar corn today even some two dollar corn prices. Naturally they’re concerned the price of one of their biggest assets, farmland, might fold too. However, Bruce Sherrick isn’t nearly so concerned. He works at the Center for Farmland Research at the University of Illinois.


Sherrick :33  We cannot find as direct link as some people might guess…

realizations through time.


Here is what that statement means. Farmers, while they have bid up the price of farmland, seem to have under priced it in the highest commodity price era with the understanding it would not be that valuable over the long haul.


Sherrick :47  Very much like you would think of the…

than the farmland values we observe at sale.

This isn’t to say the price of farmland won’t drop, but rather that the risk of a major decrease is not nearly so linked to the lower price of commodities. This is because the farmland was likely purchased with lower prices in mind.




CUT 3             Optimistic Corn Consumption

Darrel Good, Ag Economist – University of Illinois


While there are some diverging opinions about the size of the corn crop farmers will harvest this season, most analysts believe consumption of the grain will remain strong. Todd Gleason reports it may even get better than the USDA forecast at the moment.


Earlier this month the United States updated…



Earlier this month the United States updated its corn balance sheet. It showed a good consumption pattern, but not quite as strong as the one from this year, the 2013/14 marketing year. It was strong because the world came knocking looking to the United States to replenish supplies after the drought of 2012. That set a bar Darrel Good, from the University of Illinois, thinks, that might just be approached again.


Good :65  I look for corn consumption to continue to increase a bit…

there is reason to be optimistic.


USDA updates the balance sheets for corn each month in the World Agricultural Outlook Board’s World Agriculture Supply & Demand Estimates report. It now predicts one-point eight billion bushels will be left over from the harvest this coming fall with 5.25 billion being used for feed,  5.075 billion for ethanol, and 1.725 billion going to the export market.