The value of Iowa tillable cropland decreased 5% for the six months ending March 1, according to the most recent semiannual survey conducted by the Iowa Chapter of the REALTORS® Land Institute. Adding the survey's current 5% decline to the 3.7% decrease found in the organization's Sept. 1, 2015 survey results in an annual decrease of 8.7% as of March 1.
All nine Iowa crop reporting districts showed a decrease in cropland values. The districts varied from a 2.4% decrease in the east-central district to a 6.2% decline in the northwest and south-central districts since Sept. 1, 2015.
"The declines in those two districts highlight the impact of the sharp drop in commodity prices seen at the end of 2015 into early 2016," notes Kyle Hansen, ALC-A, Hertz Real Estate Services, Nevada, Iowa, and chair of the organization's land values survey committee. "Strong livestock prices supported land values somewhat in the northwest district in our Sept. 1 survey. Values were down only 2.5% as of Sept. 1. But they dropped 6.2% from then until March 1," he notes. "The drop in corn and soybean prices impacted the central district with a 3.7% decline reported for last Sept. 1 followed by a 5.9% decrease for March 1. That's a total of 9.6%," he comments.
The east-central district's relatively small 2.4% decrease the past six months is due to that district's very strong crop yields, he observes. Added to that is the lack of farm properties moving to the market in that district. The result is a muted decline in values versus other districts.
The survey also notes non-tillable pasture land values are slightly lower at a statewide average price of $2,743 an acre. That's down $53, or 1.8%, from September. Timberland values are off 3.3% at $2,225 an acre, down $76.