CHICAGO May 15 Crop land prices in the central
Plains were steady to weaker in the first quarter of 2014
compared to the previous quarter as lower grain prices weighed
on the outlook for farm income this year, the Federal Reserve
Bank of Kansas City said on Thursday.
"Expectations of lower profits for crop producers have
generally halted the rise in District cropland prices," the bank
said in its quarterly survey of 228 regional farm lenders. "The
value of non-irrigated farmland dipped 1.4 percent from the
fourth quarter of 2013 and irrigated farmland values rose just
0.5 percent. In contrast, strong demand for high-quality grazing
pastures bolstered ranchland values, which increased 2.6 percent
from the fourth quarter of 2013."
The Kansas City survey covers an area that includes
Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, the northern half
of New Mexico and the western third of Missouri. The region is
the major producer of hard red winter wheat, the main U.S. bread
wheat, along with corn, soybeans and other food commodities,
cattle and sheep.
"In keeping with these trends, some bankers expected
additional easing in cropland values in the next three months
but felt that ranchland values could strengthen further," the
Kansas City Fed concluded.
(Reporting by Christine Stebbins; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)