Iowa Appraisal

Iowa Land Auction Prices, March 24-30, 2017

Posted on April 3, 2017 at 4:00 PM by Jim Rothermich

Greetings!  More acres of land were offered at auction this week compared to last week’s results.  1,381 acres were auctioned, of which 1,093 were tillable.  All farms sold.  I would describe the land market as very stable.  Here are the highlights:

  • 180 acres sold in Poweshiek County- $4,700/acre- 113 tillable acres- CSR2- 71.0
  • 416 acres sold in Wapello County- offered in three tracts:
    • 156 acres- $4,075/acre- 104 tillable acres- CSR2- 74.0 (Des Moines River Bottom)
    • 140 acres- $6,325/acre- 90 tillable acres- CSR2- 82.0 (Des Moines River Bottom)
    • 120 acres- $4,525/acre- 90 tillable acres- CSR2- 69.0
  • 105 acres sold in Hardin County- $7,700/acre- 103 tillable acres- CSR2- 88.0
  • 77 acres sold in Woodbury County- price not disclosed- 62 tillable acres- CSR2- 51.0
  • 81 acres sold in Ida County- $6,000/acre- all tillable- CSR2- 55.0
  • 117 acres sold in Hardin County- $7,799/acre- all tillable- CSR2- 88.0 (sale price does not include $13,300 fall fertilizer application)
  • 158 acres sold in Calhoun County- offered in two tracts:
    • 85 acres- $6,850/acre- all tillable- CSR2- 75.0
    • 73 acres- $2,900/acre- 10 tillable acres- CSR2- 75.0 (mostly pasture)
  • 80 acres sold in Lucas County- $4,900/acre- 78 tillable acres- CSR2- 53.0
  • 167 acres sold in Delaware County- offered in two tracts:
    • 117 acres- $9,500/acre- 110 tillable acres- CSR2- 84.0
    • 50 acres- $11,000/acre- all tillable- CSR2- 88.0

On March 31, the USDA released its “Prospective Plantings Report” as well as its “Quarterly Grain Stocks Report.”  These reports were very highly anticipated due to the uncertainty in grain prices in recent months, the potential for a significant increase in U.S. soybean acreage in 2017, and the likelihood of even larger increases in USDA estimated grain stocks in the coming year. 

Typically, these late March USDA reports are very critical to farm operators and grain traders because they tend to have a high impact on grain market prices in spring, and early summer.  This is the time of the year when many farm operators try to sell remaining grain inventories from the previous growing season, as well as look for opportunities to forward price a portion of the anticipated crop for the current year.  In a majority of years, corn and soybean prices usually reach their peak price from April until June, which is why the March 31 USDA reports are so important.  Following are the key items from these reports:

  • Corn:  Indicated intended 2017 corn planted is nearly 90 million acres, a 4% decrease from the 94 million planted acres in 2016, but still above the 88 million acres planted in 2015.  The 2017 USDA corn acreage estimate was slightly below the average grain trade estimate of just under 91 million acres.  The highest U.S. corn acreage recorded in the March 31 estimate was 97.2 million acres in both 2012 and 2013.  The 2017 corn acreage is expected to decline in most major corn producing states.  The total U.S. corn stocks were listed at 8.62 billion bushels, which is up about 10% from 2016.  USDA estimates were slightly above the grain trade estimates prior to the report.
  • Soybeans:  Anticipated record soybeans planted is 89.5 million acres in 2017, an increase of 7% from 83.4 million acres of soybeans in 2016 which was the previous record acreage.  The USDA projection exceeded the average grain tract estimate by 1.3 million acres and was above the highest grain trade estimate.  The 2017 soybean acres is expected to increase or remain steady in 27 of the 31 major soybean producing states, with 12 states expected to have record soybean acreage.  Soybean stocks were listed at 1.73 billion bushels, up 13% from 2016.  The soybean stocks estimate was toward the high end of the pre-report estimates by grain traders.  

“That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”  Please check back next week to see what the Iowa land market is doing.

Jim “the Land Talker”

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