Farmer Sentiment Fluctuating

Month-to-month farmer sentiment continued to fluctuate in February as the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose six points to a reading of 125, a mirror image of the previous month, a Purdue University release said.

The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 US agricultural producer responses to a telephone survey.  This latest survey was conducted from Feb. 14 through 18, days prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.




The Index of Current Conditions was down one point to a reading of 132, while the Index of Future Expectations rose 10 points to a reading of 122, the University said.

The Farm Financial Performance Index remained unchanged in February at a reading of 83, the release said.  However, the sharp drop in the index, down 27% from late 2021 to 2022, indicated producers expected financial performance in 2022 to be worse than in 2021.

Responses to the financial index survey suggested that concerns about the spike in production costs and supply chain issues continued to outweigh the effect of this winter’s commodity price rally.




Higher input costs have consistently been the number one concern identified by farmers over the past six-months, according to results from the Ag Economy Barometer survey.  To gain additional insight into producer concerns, respondents were provided with a more detailed set of possible responses when answering this question.

While a majority still considered input costs to be their number one concern (47%), it was followed by lower output prices (16%), environmental policy (13%), farm policy (9%), climate policy (8%) and COVID-19’s effect (7%).

Tight machinery inventories continued to be a problem, the release said.  In February, more than 40% of producers stated that low farm machinery inventories were holding back their investment plans.

While plans for farm building and grain bin construction were more optimistic, 56% still said their plans for new construction were lower than the previous year.

Thirty percent of corn and soybean producers say they’ve had difficulty purchasing crop inputs.  Herbicides were the most problematic input to source followed by fertilizer and machinery parts.

Corn producers were asked if they planned to change their nitrogen fertilizer application rate from last year.  One-third said they did, compared with 37% in January.




The need for better rural broadband coverage was tested in the survey, three out of 10 respondents said they had “high quality” internet access, 41% said “moderate quality,” 16% chose “poor quality,” while 12% stated they did not have internet access at all.  This suggested that nearly three out of 10 farms were unable to take advantage of many applications and services that require reasonable quality internet access.




The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $142.00 to $145.00 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $140.55 to $143.00.  FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $221.90 to $224.84 per cwt, versus $218.70 to $224.02.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $0.83 per cwt at $256.68, while select was off $1.89 at $251.52.  The choice/select spread widened to $5.16 from $4.10 with 96 loads of fabricated product and 48 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported that basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.15 to $1.25 a bushel over the May futures and for southwest Kansas were $0.15 over May, which settled at $7.39 3/4.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Monday was $159.67 per cwt down $0.24.  This compares with Tuesday’s Mar contract settlement of $156.27 per cwt, down $1.45.