By: Sara Schafer,Top Producer Editor
USDA looked into its crystal ball this week and released its first round of numbers for many key forecasts for agriculture in 2018.
“There are a lot of factors that could shift farm income higher or lower than our current forecast,” says USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson. “Prices may be higher due to growing global economic growth driving demand for agricultural commodities.”
Johansson speaking at USDA’s 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va., shared these facts and figures, which are good to keep in mind as you finalize your plans for 2018.
90 million: The number of corn acres and soybean acres in 2018. To round out the top crops, USDA forecasts 46.5 million acres of wheat, 13.3 million acres of cotton and 2.9 million acres of rice to be planted this year.
$3.40: Price for corn in 2018, according to USDA’s initial forecasts. Other price forecasts for 2018 are $9.25 for soybeans and $4.70 for wheat.
$139.5 billion: The projected for FY 2018 exports, which are near FY 2017 levels.
$400 billion: Current level of real debt, which is approaching the record levels from the early 1980s. Real estate debt in 2018 expected to exceed the record $218 billion set in 1981.
2.4: Today’s number of bankruptcies per every 10,000 farms. In 1987, 23 out of every 10,000 farms declared bankruptcy. Bankruptcies were over 10 times more likely 30 years ago and remain below the most recent peak of the last decade.
370 million: The number of middle-class households in China by 2026, which is nearly double of today’s number. The number of middle-class households in India is expected to nearly triple by 2026.
65%: China’s total trade in soybeans. North Africa and Middle East currently account for 20 to 30% of the trade in coarse grains and wheat.
40%: About 1-in-3 poultry farm businesses and 1-in-5 cotton farm businesses are highly or very highly leveraged, indicating a debt-to-asset ratio greater than 40%.