Farm balance sheets improve

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Prices farmers received for ag products improved during October, while prices they paid for goods and services remained even with September's, according to USDA’s October Agricultural Prices Report.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers reached 185 percent for October, up 6 points or 3.4 percent from September. The index uses a 100-point baseline tied to 1990-1992 prices. For October, the Crop Index is up 3 points (1.5 percent) and the Livestock Index increased 1 point (0.7 percent). Compared with one year ago, the Livestock Index is up 14 percent on higher prices for cattle, hogs, milk, eggs, calves, and turkeys. Prices for broilers are down from last year.

For meat animals specifically, the October index is up 4.0 percent from last month and 25 percent higher than last year. The October all-beef-cattle price, at $116 per hundredweight, is up $4.00 from last month and is $22.90 higher than October 2010. The average hog price, at $68.80 per hundredweight, is up $1.70 from September and up $15.50 from a year ago.

But while overall prices paid for farm inputs and services were flat with September, production costs remain high. The October index for feed grains & hay is down 4.5 percent from last month but 39 percent above a year ago. The corn price, at $5.92 per bushel, is down 45 cents from last month but $1.60 above October 2010. The all hay price, at $181 per ton, is up $5.00 from September and $70.00 higher than last October. Sorghum grain, at $11.10 per cwt, is 60 cents higher than September and $3.30 above October last year.

In addition to feed prices dropping from September, the report notes declines in prices for diesel, LP gas and gasoline. However, higher prices in October for feeder cattle, complete feeds, concentrates, and supplements offset those declines.

The report lists an average calf price of $139 per hundredweight for October, up from $132 in September and $121 for October 2010. Steers and heifers in October averaged $121per hundredweight, up from $117 in September and $98.90 one year ago. Cow prices, at $63.30 per hundredweight, were down from September’s average of $67.30, but remain above those from last October at $52.50.

Read the full report from USDA



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