US agri receipts fell again in February

Growers face a widening gap between farm costs and sales, as downward pressure on agri prices persists.

Agri receipts for US farmers were more than 6.4 percent lower in February year on year, despite increasing by roughly 4 percent since January, according to a report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The decline in agri sales outpaced falling costs, which saw a 4 percent year on year drop.

Grains and oilseed sales continued to suffer, seeing both monthly and annual declines, according to the report. Livestock sales fell slightly between January and February this year, remaining 13 percent below last year’s count.

Horticultural products were the lone bright spot: fruit and tree nut sales were 12 percent higher than in February 2015, and increased by 1 percent since the previous month. Vegetable and melon sales fell by 20 percent between January and February, but remained 18 percent higher than during the same period in 2015.

A previous USDA report predicted horticultural products would be the only category of US agri exports to expand, while the US trade surplus in agri products would fall to its lowest level in years.

Production costs fell by 6 percent, nearly following the same rate as sales, with costs for feed, feeder stock, fertiliser, chemicals, fuel and machinery all falling below 2015 levels. Fuel costs (29 percent), fertiliser (12 percent) and feed costs (11 percent) saw the most significant declines from the previous year. The decline in production costs was partially offset by increasing labour, rent and tax costs.

Source: USDA.