The Agricultural Outlook for 2024

What does U.S. ag production ag commodity prices look like for 2024? Agriculture Department Chief Economist Seth Meyer provided the annual outlook starting with how prices support what commodities growers might plant this year.

Maybe that prices support soybeans a little bit more than corn. So maybe we move a little bit of area back into soybeans, corn prices moving a little bit lower as well. Sorghum area is largely unchanged. Wheat after responding to the global demand for wheat because of action in the Black Sea, farmers (are) saying OK, we’ll move out of wheat (and) responded. Cotton being perhaps one of the areas where we see a little bit of area growth, and certainly if weather is normal, some big rebounds in production, and rice, pretty steady overall in area

He adds in terms of supplies, corn and bean stocks should continue to build in 2024, while wheat and rice supplies are forecasted to tighten this year. Turning to potential livestock production and prices…

The prices swung a little bit higher, but remember, feed’s a lot higher. If you’ve got cattle and you can run them, you’ll make some money. The question is will you have those forage conditions. (The) turkey industry (is) facing some serious demand issues and putting a lot of downward pressure, and on eggs, there’s a lot of volatility in that we had a lot of HPAI issues.

Meanwhile, slow milk production growth and firm demand both domestically and internationally should translate to mostly higher dairy prices in 2024. The ag forecast from USDA includes a continued lowering of output prices.

Many prices showing further erosion in the next crop year. Maybe cotton not seeing much of an erosion, or even a little bit of a price increase. But many of those commodities coming down in price…

…coupled by consistently higher prices for most inputs.

Fertilizer prices absolutely have come down from their peak. We had some thought that maybe we’ll see a little bit of easing of interest rates over time, but for many of the other lines in a crop budget, they tend to move and be sticky when commodity prices fall. Input prices for maybe things other than fertilizer, fuel oil, things like repairing your vehicle or your tractor, other things involved in the supply chain, those prices not coming down.

So what might be the potential bottom line for producers in calendar year 2024?

Producers are going to have a challenging year overall when it comes to narrow margins.