Illinois Farmland Values Continue Upward Trend

The Society conducts a survey half way through the year to evaluate trends in farmland prices and cash rents.

Published on: Aug 30, 2012

The value of farmland across Illinois continues rising, and while the rate of increase has slowed somewhat, prices are expected to continue upward, according to the Mid-Year Land Values snapshot survey conducted by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and the University of Illinois.

The survey was conducted among membership of the Society with tabulation and results summarized by Gary Schnitkey, Ph.D., a professor and farm management specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois. "The Society conducts a survey half way through the year to evaluate trends in farmland prices and cash rents. This information supplements the Society's larger efforts at year-end to document farmland prices and cash rents across Illinois. The 2012 mid-year survey also focused on the droughts impacts on farmland prices and cash rents."

Illinois Farmland Values Continue Upward Trend
Illinois Farmland Values Continue Upward Trend

"Overall, land values increased by 5 percent during the first half of 2012," says Don McCabe, AFM, chairman of the Society's Illinois Land Values project and president at Soy Capital Ag Services, Bourbonnais, IL "This is less than the double-digit increases we've seen the past few years."

"On July 1, 2012, farmland prices averaged $11,200 for excellent quality farmland, $9,200 for good quality farmland, $7,800 for average quality farmland, and $5,900 for fair quality farmland. A year ago the 2011 Mid-Year survey indicated the value of the best quality land surpassed $10,000 for the first time," McCabe explains.

In a normal year, excellent quality farmland averages over 190 bushels of corn per acre, good quality farmland averages between 170 and 190 bushels per acre, average quality farmland averages between 150 and 170 bushels per acre, and fair quality farmland averages below 150 bushels per acre. "Yields will be below these averages in 2012," Schnitkey says. Respondents indicated that 2012 corn yields will be 44 percent lower than expected. Soybean yields in 2012 will be 30 percent lower than expected.

McCabe also noted that the volume of farmland being sold during the first half of this year was down slightly when compared to a year ago. "Most survey respondents expect the volume of sales to be at last year's level or greater during the second half of the year," he explained. Forty percent expect higher sales volume while 42 percent expect the same volume.

Below are the key points from the survey:

Farmland Prices
1. Respondents indicate that land values increased by 5 percent during the first half of 2012.

2. Most respondents expect farmland prices to increase over the next 12 months: 12 percent expect farmland prices to increase more than 5 percent and 52 percent expect increases between 0 and 5 percent, meaning that 64 percent expect price increases. Twenty-four percent of the respondents expect stable prices while 12 percent expect price declines of between 0 and 5 percent. Compared to the 2011 midyear survey, respondents are somewhat less optimistic. In 2011, 81 percent of respondents expected increases compared to 64 percent this year.

3. Most respondents expect corn prices to average between $7 and $8 per bushel for the 2012 crop. Twenty-eight percent expect prices over $8 per bushel while 63 percent expect average prices between $7 and $8. Nine percent expect prices between below $6.

4. For soybeans, 49 percent of the respondents expect prices between $15 and $16 per bushel. Sixteen percent expect prices above $16. Twenty-one percent expect prices between $14 and $15 and 14 percent expect prices below $14.

2012 and Projected 2013 Cash Rents
5. Respondents expect 2013 rents to average slightly higher than 2012 levels:

a. Excellent quality farmland: Respondents indicated that average cash rent in 2012 was $373 per acre and expect 2013 rents to average $384 per acre, an $11 per acre increase. In 2011, respondents expected a $38 per acre increase from 2011 to 2012.

b. Good quality farmland: Respondents indicated that average cash rent in 2012 was $317 per acre and expect 2012 rents to average $326 per acre, a $9 per acre increase. In 2011, respondents expected a $36 per acre increase from 2011 to 2012.