Iowa corn and soybean price movements are good indicators of gross farm income movement. There was a 33 percent drop in the Iowa average corn price from October 2012 to October 2013 and there was an 11 percent drop in soybean prices over the same time period. The November estimated price for Iowa corn was 39 percent lower than the November 2012 price. Soybean prices were 11 percent lower.
There are many competing forces that will influence prices over the coming years. The Iowa State economist goes on to say, for now it appears there are more factors that will lead to lower prices as opposed to returning to levels of the past few years.
“Farm income is a strong indicator for the direction land values will go, but there are other factors as well,” Duffy said. “Interest rates remain low, but the percent of respondents who reported less sales than in 2012 was the highest it’s been since 1985.
The odds are against a major collapse in land values. But, if projections of a new lower level for commodity prices hold, then Duffy believes we should expect land values to drop. The economist said many respondents commented that the current situation might be a plateau.
Overview of 2013 Iowa land values
While the highest county land values were reported in Scott County, Decatur County remained the lowest reported land value, $3,628 per acre. O’Brien County, which showed the highest county average value and greatest dollar increase in 2012, showed the highest dollar decrease in 2013 of $478. Osceola, Dickinson and Lyon counties along with O’Brien County all shared the highest percentage increase in 2012 and the greatest percentage decrease in 2013, with 3.72 percent.
Low grade land in the state averaged $5,298 per acre and showed a 3.5 percent increase or $179 per acre, while medium grade land averaged $8,047 per acre; high grade land averaged $10,828 per acre. The lowest land value was estimated in the South Central Crop Reporting District, $4,791, while the lowest percentage decrease was in the Northwest Crop Reporting District with a 3.9 percent decrease. The Southeast Crop Reporting District reported a 13.3 percent increase, the highest district percentage reported. Maps showing 2013 values, percentage change and comparisons to 2012 data and additional information from Duffy are available at www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/landvalue.