Agriculture Confidence Index Results

DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index Finds Input Costs Temper Farmer Optimism


By Greg D Horstmeier, DTN/Progressive Farmer  



COLUMBIA, Mo. (DTN) -- Farmers have a mixed bag of feelings as we head into a delayed 2022 planting season.


The latest DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index is a slightly optimistic 105.8, up slightly from the 98.5 in December and down 17 points from spring 2021. The latest survey of 500 farmers was conducted in late March and April.


Index numbers above the baseline score of 100 indicate optimism -- the higher the number, the higher that optimism. Scores below 100 are considered pessimistic.


Commodity prices continue their bullish ways, with corn bids hitting $8 per bushel during the survey period. But high prices are tempered by two key issues. First, most farmers have sold the bulk of their 2021 harvest, so there isn't a lot of grain to move to fetch high prices. Second, there is no letup in the climb of crop input prices either, as fertilizers reach two to three times their historical average levels and retail diesel fuel continues to hang around $5 per gallon, twice its 2021 price.


This spring's survey also showed significant differences in regional attitudes, as the third year in a row of La Nina weather pattern keeps major areas of the West and Southwest in extreme to exceptional drought levels, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor and DTN's own soil moisture tracking.


The Agriculture Confidence Index survey is conducted via telephone interview with farmers three times each year. Farmers are asked questions about how they feel current economic and financial conditions are compared to a year ago, and how they estimate conditions will be a year from current. Those questions create "present condition" and "future expectations" scores, respectively, that are then combined to create the overall Index.


Present situation scores, while still optimistic, were down considerably to 127.9 versus 169.8 at the end of 2021 and the even more optimistic score of 186.2 a year ago...






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