Economic Tidbits

Latest Nebraska Crop Production Forecasts

Friday’s USDA crop production estimates project Nebraska corn production will equal 1.77 billion bushels, down 1 percent compared to last year. The average corn yield for Nebraska is estimated at 182 bushels per acre, off 10 bushels from last year.

Nebraska soybean production was adjusted upward a bit from the October projections to 282 million bushels, or 13 percent less than last year. The average yield is forecast at 57 bushels per acre compared to 58 bushels last year. Sorghum and sugarbeet production are both projected to be down 14 percent in 2019 compared to last year. Potato production is expected to be about the same as last year.

The November World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate Report (WASDE) increased the projected midpoint price for corn 5 cents to $3.85 per bushel but kept the midpoint price for soybeans at $9.00 per bushel. Using these prices, and USDA production estimates, farmers’ corn revenue would be $6.83 billion for this year’s crop, up 6 percent over last year. Farmers’ revenue for soybeans, $2.5 billion, would be off 8 percent. Combined, the estimated farm revenue for Nebraska’s two largest crops would be 2 percent greater than last year.

Increased crop revenues might help Nebraska farmers post modest income gains for the year. Dr. Brad Lubben, extension economist with the University of Nebraska, estimates net farm income for the state could rebound to $3.3 billion this year. Estimated net farm income in Nebraska was $2.6 billion last year and $2.2 billion in 2017 according to the USDA. This year’s income will also be boosted by the trade assistance payments, expected to exceed $600 million. This will help offset trade losses but also mitigate reduced conventional farm program payments like ARC and PLC payments. Lubben estimates federal government payments this year could account for about 23 percent of net farm income. Farmers would rather see their income come from the markets, but at times federal farm programs can be important to Nebraska agriculture.

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