The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer shows a decline of 19 points – to 104 – the lowest reading on farmer sentiment since last July.

Purdue and CME said in a news release the drop is likely in response to lower crop prices.

The Ag Economy Barometer measures a variety of categories. The Index of Current Conditions decreased 13 points in May, while the Index of Future Expectations dropped 22 points.

“Producers are feeling the squeeze from weakened crop prices, which has reduced their expectations for strong financial performance in the coming year,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

The Ag Economy Barometer telephone survey reached 400 agriculture producers in the U.S. The latest survey was conducted in mid-May, just as corn, soybean and wheat prices were falling.

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The Farm Financial Performance Index May reading was also lower by 17 points. In addition to crop prices, U.S. bank failures and rising interest rates could be contributing to the low farmer sentiment.

In May, 38% of farmers surveyed said they are anticipating weaker financial performance for their farm this year. Only 23% responded similarly in April.

Producers' primary concern remains high input costs; 76% of respondents said now is a bad time to make large investments.

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