US farmers paid less for commodities, interest, in April but still more than in 2022

According to the April 2023 data, released May 31, 2023, farmers paid less for commodities and services, interest, taxes and farm wage rates in April compared to March, but they paid 1.5% more compared to a year ago.

The index of prices paid by farmers was 0.2% lower month on month, with decreases in cost for feeder pigs, wages, complete feeds, and nitrogen offsetting increases in feeder cattle, hay and forages, gasoline, and LP gas.

Producers received lower prices for milk in April 2023 compared to March. The April all milk price is $20.70 per cwt, 40% lower than March and $6.30 lower than April 2022. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the price slips to $20.30 per cwt. The highest milk price was recorded in Florida at $24.10 per cwt while the lowest – in New Mexico, at $18.40.

The dairy index for April was also down 1.9% on March and 23% lower on April 2022. Meanwhile, prices of milk cows (animals sold as replacements only) increased from $1,570 to $1,720 per head on average compared to April 2022.

Corn was up 3% at $6.70 per bushel from last month but down $0.37 from April 2022; soybean is unchanged from March but $0.90 lower than April 2022.

The all hay price continued to climb – at $249 per ton, it was $18 higher than March and $30 higher than April 2022. The highest hay price was recorded in Washington ($280 per ton) and the lowest – in North Dakota ($99 per ton). For premium and supreme alfalfa hay, the highest price was received in Pennsylvania at $345 per ton, versus just $190 in Wisconsin.

The all wheat price slipped by $0.03 per bushel, from $8.34 in March to $8.31 in April 2023, and remained $1.89 lower year on year.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service also released the quarterly gran stocks report, to provide estimates of on-farm and off-farm stocks as of March 1. Corn, soybean and wheat stocks were all down, by 5%, 13% and 8% respectively on March last year. Producers however are expected to plant more corn and soybean acreage in 2023, with the planted area of corn in Arizona and Idaho set to be the largest on record.

Back to the latest Agricultural Prices, the fertilizer index was 3.8% lower in April from March, and 23% from April a year ago. Since March, lower prices for nitrogen and mixed fertilizer more than offset higher prices for potash and phosphate.

For chemicals, the April index was also down, by 0.5% from March 2023 and 23% from April 2022.