Ag Decision Maker May Updates

5/2024 Newsletter

Lee SchulzLee Schulz
Why USDA beef supply and use forecasts change over time
Chad HartChad Hart
The mid-May update
Kristine Tidgren Kristine Tidgren
Iowa Legislature passes many laws of interest to landowners and agricultural producers
Lee SchulzJohn CrespiLee Schulz and John Crespi
Economic impact of Perry pork processing plant closure

5/2024 Updates

Crops — Costs & Returns

Whole Farm — Leasing

Ag Decision Maker

An agricultural economics and business website.

Just released: Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2024 Survey

The cash rental rate information is from a survey of farmers, landowners, agricultural lenders, and professional farm managers. They supplied information based on their best judgments about typical cash rental rates for high, medium, and low quality cropland in their counties, as well as for land devoted to production of hay, oat, and pasture. The survey does not ask about rents for individual farms. The rental rates summarized in this publication do not include the value of any buildings or storage structures, manure application contracts, or seed production contracts.

The cooperation and assistance of the landowners, farmers, and agribusiness professionals who responded to this survey are greatly appreciated. The distribution of the 1,278 responses was 42% from farm operators, 36% from landowners, 8% from professional farm managers and realtors, 8% from agricultural lenders, and 6% from other professions and respondents who chose not to report their status. Respondents indicated being familiar with 1.7 million cash rented acres across the state.

2024 average county cash rents
Ag Decision Maker

An agricultural economics and business website.

AgDM April: When subtraction leads to larger pig crops

Pork producers are getting more pigs per litter. They’re also farrowing a higher percentage of their breeding herds. Those trends enable producers to add to pig crops by subtracting females from their breeding herds. But recent exceptional performance gains may not continue.

Recent litter rates have been exceptional. The year-over-year changes have been exceptional. Expect a slowing rate of increase going forward. If nothing else, we will be comparing to a high base period a year prior. This, however, does not mean litter rates will decrease.

Read more from Dr. Lee Schulz in the April Ag Decision Maker newsletter.

Ag Decision Maker

An agricultural economics and business website.

AgDM April: Preparations for the upcoming crop year

With the calendar shift into April, farmers are gearing up for planting. USDA has provided four major reports that outline crop supplies and demand estimates for both the 2023 and 2024 crops. With the March and April World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, USDA has provided the markets an update on the shifting set of crop usage for the 2023 crops. With the March releases of the Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports, USDA revealed the sizable crop stocks remaining in farmer hands as we go into planting and the differences between farmers’ planting intentions and USDA’s early projections on crop acreage. Read the full article by Dr. Chad Hart for a summary of how these reports have adjusted the 2024 outlook.

Ag Decision Maker

An agricultural economics and business website.

Impact of the Loss of USDA NASS County Level Reports

County level reports are often used in farm level decisions, for example, many flexible lease agreements utilize the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) county average yields. If NASS reported county yields are used in flexible leases or other farm decisions, start discussions early on alternative options, such as farm level yields reported to crop insurance or county level yields reported by USDA Risk Management Agency. Using yield estimates as reported by USDA avoids the question of how to measure the actual production and removed the influence that above or below average management ability has on yields. USDA NASS yields were not announced until March following the crop year, but were well ahead of yields released by USDA RMA in June following the crop year. With the impact these changes will have, a secondary yield should be discussed in the event the original chosen source isn’t reported.

Full news release: NASS discontinues select 2024 data collection programs and reports

Issued April 9, 2024, by the Agricultural Statistics Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is canceling the July Cattle report and discontinuing the Cotton Objective Yield Survey, as well as all County Estimates for Crops and Livestock beginning with the 2024 production year. The decision to discontinue these surveys and reports was not made lightly, but was necessary, given appropriated budget levels.
NASS has and will continue to review its estimating programs using criteria focused on the needs of its mission and customers to prioritize budget decisions. Information about all NASS surveys and reports is available online at

USDA NASS Newsroom,

A May 2024 USDA NASS public webinar regarding discontinued programs provides additional insight from USDA representatives.

Ag Decision Maker

An agricultural economics and business website.

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