A measure of farmers’ outlook rebounded modestly in May as corn and soybean prices improved.  

Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, which is based on a monthly survey of farmers, rose nine points to 108 for the month after a sharp drop in April.

Two sub-indices increased as well. The index of future expectations rose 11 points to 117, while the measure of current conditions rose 6 points.

A summary of the latest survey, which was conducted May 13-17, noted that corn prices in the eastern Corn Belt were 6% to 7% higher in mid-May than they were when the April survey was conducted. Soybean prices were 2% to 3% higher.

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“The improvement in prices coincided with good corn and soybean planting progress as USDA reported the planting pace in mid-May matched the 5-year average,” the summary says.

The measure of how farmers feel about the finances of their own operations increased by 6 points to 82 in April but was still 15 points below where it was at the end of 2023, “indicating that producers still expect 2024 to be a more challenging year financially than 2023.”

Some 77% of farmers who participated in the survey said it’s a bad time to make large capital investments in their operations. Only 12% said it’s a good time.