This year’s Nebraska corn production is forecast to be 1 percent less than last year, and soybean production is forecast to be 1 percent more, according to the latest USDA- NASS estimates released on Thursday. The latest estimates peg Nebraska corn production at 1.683 billion bushels and soybean production at 316.4 million bushels, a record for the state. U.S. corn production is forecast at 14.3 billion bushels, down 6 percent from last year, while soybean production is forecast at a record 4.43 billion bushels, up 3 percent from last year. The percentage changes in production for Nebraska crops are shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Percentage Change in Crop Production, 2016 to 2017
|Sorghum||– 19 %|
|Dry Edible Beans||+49 %|
|Sugar beets||+1 %|
|Sunflowers||– 4 %|
|Alfalfa Hay||+ 4 %|
Corn and soybeans together typically account for 90 percent of Nebraska’s total crop cash receipts. As such, changes in revenues for these commodities, along with changes in beef sector revenue, will dictate the overall health of the state’s agricultural economy. Calculations using the latest USDA production and price estimates suggest cash receipts received by corn and soybean producers could be less for this year’s crop. Combined receipts for the two crops are estimated to decrease $389 million, or 4.48 percent from last year. Revenue for the 2017 corn crop is estimated to be $325 million less, or 5.69 percent; revenue for the 2017 soybean crop will be $64 million less, or 2.16 percent less. The reduction in revenue would result in an estimated 0.61 percent reduction in net farm income, or $30.7 million, assuming corn and soybean receipts as a percentage of net farm income is the same as the average from 2008 to 2015. The decline doesn’t necessarily mean total net farm income for the state will be down, as the beef feedlot sector has enjoyed positive returns for awhile this year. But any positive returns in the beef industry or other commodity sectors must overcome the declines in corn and soybeans revenues to result in an uptick in income for the state.
Jay Rempe is the senior economist for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Rempe’s background in agricultural economics, years of experience in advocating at the state capitol, and firm grasp of issues allow him to quantify the fiscal impact of a regulatory proposal, and provide in-depth examination of key issues affecting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.