The latest Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer showed farmer optimism improving slightly in October, coming in at an index of 135. That’s actually the third-highest level since the survey began two years ago.
The modest improvement during October came about because of increasing optimism for what lies ahead. The Index of Future Expectations increased from 130 to 137 in October. But, the Index of Current Conditions was a little lower than the previous month. Compared to the July survey, fewer producers expect higher corn, soybean, and wheat prices over the next 12 months. At the same time, producers don’t expect lower prices during that same time period, either. Fewer producers expect to make major management changes from a year ago, specifically when it comes to fertilizer application.
Similar to last year, 19 percent of producers expect to lower their seeding rates and 35 percent of farmers will adjust their seed variety or hybrid package in 2018. Only one-third of producers plan to reduce fertilizer rates when compared to last year. That’s down from 46 percent when the survey was conducted last year, likely due to lower fertilizer costs. 80 percent of producers expect farmland rental rates to be unchanged in 2018.