Are Lengthy-Run Costs Nonetheless $ 4 for Corn, $ 10 for Soybeans, and $ 5.50 for Wheat? • farmdoc each day

The Congressional Finances Workplace (CBO) not too long ago launched projected outlays for Federal farm packages from 2021 to 2031. To make these ten-year projections, CBO used estimates of commodity costs over the subsequent 10 years. CBO’s 2031 value estimates are $ 3.90 per bushel for corn, $ 10 per bushel for soybeans, and $ 5.15 per bushel for wheat. Total, CBO has costs returning to 2014-2020 averages, representing what could also be thought of long-run costs. These costs are effectively under projections for 2021 and 2022 ranges. If costs transfer again to long-run averages, appreciable changes might want to happen within the agricultural sector.

Lengthy-Run Costs

Costs of agricultural commodities sometimes fluctuate round a long-run common however don’t development up or down (see farmdoc each day March 29, 2011, February 27, 2013). This characteristic is illustrated in Determine 1, which exhibits Market Yr Common (MYA) costs for corn. MYA costs signify the typical value obtained for corn by all US farmers and is calculated by the Nationwide Agricultural Statistics Service.

Three durations are discernable in Determine 1:

  1. Costs common $ 1.17 from 1960 to 1973.
  2. Costs reached a brand new larger plateau in 1973. S. exports started rising within the late Sixties as a consequence of a number of evolutions in US coverage. In 1973, the Soviet Union made giant grain purchases, reversing commerce coverage relationship again to the Bolshevik Revolution, thereby open extra markets to international commerce. From 1973 to 2005, corn costs averaged $ 2.36 per bushel. Typically corn costs had been significantly above the $ 2.36 common, as occurred in 1995 when corn costs had been $ 3.24 per bushel. Some believed that costs had reached a brand new larger plateau, however that they had not. Corn costs once more went under the $ 2.36 common, falling to $ 1.94 per bushel in 1998.
  3. Costs once more moved to a brand new larger plateau in 2006, primarily as a result of development of corn utilized in ethanol manufacturing. From 2006 to 2020, corn costs averaged $ 4.22 per bushel.

In its Might 2022 World Agriculture Provide and Demand Estimate (WASDE) report, the Workplace of the Chief Economist projected corn at $ 5.90 per bushel for the 2021 advertising 12 months, effectively above the $ 4.22 common from 2002 to 2020. This has led some to counsel that costs could also be shifting to a different new larger plateau. Nonetheless, long-run forecasts made by the USDA, in addition to CBO projections, counsel in any other case.

Value Forecasts

Desk 1 exhibits forecasts from three sources:

  1. ERS Futures. The Financial Analysis Service (ERS), an company within the USDA, publishes a strategy to estimate MYA costs primarily based on Chicago Mercantile Trade (CME) futures costs (right here). This system makes use of CME futures costs to venture month-to-month costs, that are then adjusted to money costs primarily based on historic foundation. The MYA value is then estimated utilizing historic month-to-month advertising weights. Values ​​for 2021 and 2022 proven in Desk 1 come immediately from the spreadsheet downloaded from the ERS web site. These web sites had been used to venture the 2023 MYA value primarily based on futures settlement costs on Might 27th2022.
  2. Every February, a number of companies inside USDA launch last estimates of the subsequent ten-year provide and demand scenario at its Annual Agricultural Outlook convention. The 2022 model of this report, entitled USDA Agricultural Projections to 2023 offers these utilization estimates in addition to projections for costs from 2021 to 2031. These costs are proven in Desk 1 for 2023 to 2031. The 2021 and 2022 forecasts come from the Might 2022 WASDE report.
  3. The CBO exhibits costs utilized in its Might 2022 estimates of farm program outlays (right here).

The USDA and CBO projections are made by governmental companies which have contact with each other. USDA forecasts seemingly affect CBO forecasts, and vice versa. In consequence, the 2 forecasts are usually not completely unbiased of each other.


Presently, all forecasts have the 2021 MYA costs effectively above the $ 4.22 long-run common: $ 6.26 for the ERS forecast, $ 5.90 for USDA, and $ 5.80 for 2021 (See Determine 2). All forecasts have 2022 at larger costs: $ 7.18 for ERS forecast, $ 6.75 for USDA, and $ 6.00 for CBO. Then all three have decrease costs in 2023: $ 5.50 for ERS forecast, $ 4.50 for USDA, and $ 4.45 for CBO.

Futures contracts with a major quantity of commerce don’t exist after 2023. In consequence, solely USDA and CBO forecasts can be found for the out years. USDA tasks costs to achieve $ 4.00 by 2026 after which stay at that stage via 2031. Within the out years, USDA is projecting costs under the 2006-2020 common of $ 4.22.

CBO additionally has costs under the 2006-2020 common of $ 4.22. In out years, CBO value estimates vary from $ 4.10 in 2024 to $ 3.80 in 2032.

Each USDA and CBO are forecasting a lot decrease costs after 2022 than are occurring in 2021 and 2022. In essence, 2021 and 2022 are an aberration brought on by a mixture of tight international shares, manufacturing uncertainty, robust demand for grains from China, and grain disruptions from the Ukraine-Russia battle. Nonetheless, their forecasts counsel that the scenario is just not everlasting, and costs are anticipated to return to present longer-run averages.


An analogous scenario exists for soybeans. From 2006 to 2020, soybeans averaged $ 10.20 per bushel (see Determine 3). MYA costs are projected to be effectively above the $ 10.20 common in 2021 and 2022. USDA is forecasting a value of $ 13.25 for 2021 and $ 14.40 for 2022. For each years, ERS Futures and USDA approaches lead to roughly comparable costs. CBO estimates a drop in costs in 2022 to $ 12.50, $ 2.00 decrease than both the ERS futures-based forecast and the estimates utilized in USDA’s long-term projections.

Each USDA and CBO have soybeans headed to 10.00 per bushel by 2026 after which remaining at that stage all through the rest of the projection interval.


Wheat’s common value from 2006 to 2020 was $ 5.62. For 2022, the ERS forecast is $ 11.23 and USDA estimate is $ 10.75, whereas the CBO estimate is decrease at $ 7.65 (see Determine 4). USDA has wheat costs reaching $ 5.50 by 2024 after which dropping additional to $ 5.25 for 2030 and 2031. CBO forecasts $ 5.25 in 2025. After that, reductions proceed till a $ 5.10 value is reached in 2032.


Each USDA and CBO forecast strategies have costs shifting decrease after a better interval in 2021 and 2022. This can be a affordable perception and modeling end result, notably on condition that historic modifications in long-run costs happen solely sometimes and are normally related to a sustained change in demand. Actions again to 2006-2020 averages counsel that the present strong market ensuing from China and the Ukraine-Russia battle are transitory and also will lead to development in agricultural output, resulting in decrease costs.

If costs do certainly transfer again to 2006-2020 averages, changes within the agricultural sector might want to happen. In Illinois, the 2022 break-even value for corn is projected at $ 4.73 per bushel for corn and $ 11.06 per bushel for soybeans (farmdoc each day, December 21, 2021). Each of these break-even costs are above value projections by USDA and CBO in years after 2024, suggesting that prices will should be diminished. Present occasions contributing to robust commodity costs are additionally resulting in larger manufacturing prices, notably for inputs akin to fertilizers and different chemical compounds. Whereas a part of those price will increase can also be transitory, further changes are additionally more likely to be wanted if commodity costs return to decrease ranges as projected. Decrease returns are normally related to downward pressures on money rental charges, which then may result in farmland value declines.

Nonetheless, these ramifications are sooner or later. The timing of value declines is unsure. The Ukraine-Russia warfare may have a lot longer-run impacts than are presently anticipated. How inflation and different occasions play out is unsure.


Congressional Finances Workplace. CBO’s Might 2022 Baseline for Farm ApplicationsMight 2022.

Financial Analysis Service, US Division of Agriculture. Season-Common Value Forecasts. Final up to date, Friday, Might 13, 2022.

Irwin, S. and D. Good. “A New Period in Crop Costs?farmdoc each day (1): 27, Division of Agricultural and Shopper Economics, College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, March 29, 2011.

Irwin, S. and D. Good. “The New Period of Crop Costs – A 5-Yr Overview. ” farmdoc each day (3): 38, Division of Agricultural and Shopper Economics, College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, February 27, 2013.

Schnitkey, G., C. Zulauf, N. Paulson and Okay. Swanson. “2022 Break-Even Costs for Corn and Soybeans. ” farmdoc each day (11): 168, Division of Agricultural and Shopper Economics, College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, December 21, 2021.

US Division of Agriculture. USDA Agricultural Projections to 2031. February 2022.

US Division of Agriculture. World Agricultural Provide and Demand Estimates (WASDE -624-2), Launched Might 12, 2022.

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