US agri prices down nearly 10% from 2015

Prices paid to US agri producers remain well below 2015 numbers despite edging up slightly from February.

Prices received by US agri producers in March remain well below 2015 numbers despite edging up slightly from February, according to a report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Prices Received Index finished March up 0.3 percent from February but 9.1 percent below March 2015.

US livestock sales, which include meat, poultry, dairy and egg sales, have fared the worst of any category in the US, sitting 15 percent below the previous year’s numbers despite a 1 percent month-over-month increase in March.

Grains and oilseed sales also increased by 1 percent between February and March, but remained 8.2 percent below those seen in March 2015.

US horticultural products continued to outperform the rest of the sector, with fruit and tree nut sales down by less than 1 percent from last year, despite falling by nearly 8 percent between February and March. Vegetable and melon sales remained 4.5 percent above 2015 numbers, having inched up 0.3 percent over the previous month.

Other crops, including hay and corn, are down 9.4 percent from last year, despite seeing a 0.3 percent increase in receipts between February and March.

US agri producers are faced with reduced global demand for food exports, a glut of supply in both the US and international markets,and a strong dollar that puts US exports.

In February, the USDA predicted US agri exports would decline by 10 percent in 2016.

Last month a USDA report found on average, farmers in the major grain producing state of Illinois would have to see prices for corn and soybeans above $4.20 and $10.25 per bushel respectively, in order to avoid operating at a loss. The report described such a scenario as “optimistic”.

Prices received by farmers, March 2016

February 16 March 15
Grain & Oilseed +0.8%  -8.2%
Fruit & Tree Nut -2.2%  -0.9%
Vegetables & Melon -3.4%  +4.5%
Livestock  +1% -15%
Other crops  +0.3% -9.4%