USDA's big mid-August crop report will be released on August 12th. But some private analysts took a stab at 2005 production numbers this week.
Informa predicts a corn crop of 10.3 billion bushels on an average yield of 139 bushels an acre. The soybean crop was projected at 2.8 billion bushels on an average yield of 38.9 bushels an acre. All of those numbers are down from 2004.
From crop yields to interest rates to input costs, crunching the numbers is a vital part of the business of farming. Those numbers also include land value and cash rents, which USDA summarized in an annual report released late Friday.
Farm real estate values, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $1,510 an acre as of January1, 2005. That's an 11 percent increase from the previous year. It's also the second highest percentage increase since 1981 ... and the largest dollar per acre rise on record.
The increase in farm real estate values was driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates ... high commodity production and prices ... and continued strong demand for nonagricultural land uses.
USDA's survey showed that farmland with immediate potential for development was valued at more than $6,000 an acre.
Farmland values on a per acre basis remain highest in the Northeast, while the per acre increases in the Great Lakes and Corn Belt regions were up 9 and 12 percent, respectively.
USDA also reported Friday that cash rents paid to landlords for cropland this year jumped about 2 percent to an average of just over $78 an acre.