For many people, the six weeks between Feb. 1 and mid-March can be the longest weeks of the year. Spring’s arrival seems out of grasp, and winter weather often doesn’t quit. In 2019, this time period was a real grind, as most of Iowa endured 40-plus inches of snowfall. And after that, Mother Nature just didn’t let up, with several weather-related difficulties to follow.
Will 2020 be different? Perhaps. In central Iowa, it was near 50 degrees F the weekend of Feb. 1, so that’s not a bad start. The 50 degrees was nice. And with each passing day, we are seeing longer daylight hours.
Why do we anticipate spring? I believe it is because springtime is when things look new and fresh. Spring often brings new energy and optimism. With the early architecture of the China trade deal in place, and President Donald Trump’s signature on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, this year the optimism tilts toward the demand-drivers in the grain trade. And with those major agreements in place, the grain markets are beginning to ferret out whether corn or soybeans will be the best choice for 2020 production. This is important because a positive grain market generally supports a stable to stronger farmland market.
But there are also significant off-setting demand concerns, including the hangover impact on grain demand from last year’s African swine fever decimation of the Asian hog herd, not to mention the more recent global market jitters caused by the coronavirus. The impact of these two issues is not yet completely known, which creates a good deal of negative “motion” in the global marketplace.
Market mostly stable
In spite of all the motion in the global marketplace, let’s root ourselves in the facts. It is true that we have enjoyed a mostly stable land market here in Iowa and across the Midwest. Are there wild cards in play? You bet!
Among them are the upcoming U.S. presidential election, global interest rate policy, various ongoing military conflicts across the globe, the further spread of African swine fever and coronavirus, etc. While the wild cards seem endless, I encourage you not to engage or worry, regardless of how the media may try to spin things. Don’t take the bait.
The fact remains that 2020 has started off in such a way that the status quo of stability in the Midwestern farmland market appears rooted in place. The recent sales noted here are a testament to that. So, take a deep breath. By the time you see my next column, the warmth of springtime is likely to be on your face.
Dickinson County. Northwest of Terril, 160 acres sold at public auction for $10,425 per acre. The farm consists of 157 tillable acres with an 85.1 CSR2, which equals $125 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.
Cerro Gordo County. Near Burchinal, 55 acres sold at public auction for $9,250 per acre. The farm has of 52 tillable acres with an 83.8 CSR2, which equals $117 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.
Black Hawk County. Southeast of Dunkerton, 38 acres sold at public auction for $10,000 per acre. The farm has 38 tillable acres with an 84.8 CSR2, which equals $118 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.
Sac County. Northeast of Sac City, 76 acres sold at public auction for $8,900 per acre. The farm has 76 tillable acres with an 84.9 CSR2, which equals $105 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.
Story County. Northeast of Cambridge, 160 acres sold at public auction for $8,600 per acre. The farm has 151 tillable acres with an 86.4 CSR2, which equals $105 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.
Jones County. Southwest of Anamosa,158 acres sold for $11,000 per acre. The farm has 151 tillable acres with a 78.5 CSR2, which equals $146 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.
Cass County. South of Cumberland, 155 acres sold at public auction for $4,500 per acre. The farm has 141 tillable acres with a 54.8 CSR2, which equals $90 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres. All of the farm’s tillable land is enrolled in a CRP contract through September 2025, which pays $236 per acre per year.
Appanoose County. West of Walnut City, 120 acres sold at public auction for $5,050 per acre. The farm consists of 104 tillable acres with a 49.3 CSR2, which equals $118 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.
Van Buren County. North of Stockport, 80 acres sold at public auction for $5,300 per acre. The farm consists of 76 tillable acres with a 57.5 CSR2, which equals $97 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.
Hensley is president of Hertz Real Estate Services, which compiled this list, but did not handle all sales. Visit hertz.ag.