Cash rents in Iowa are up 1.4% to an average of $222 per acre for the 2018 crop year, according to an annual survey conducted by Iowa State University (ISU). The slight rise halts the previous four-year decline in average cash rent prices.
Average cash rent topped at $270 per acre in 2013. This year’s average represents a $48, or 18%, decrease from 2013, compared to the $51, 19%, decline reported for 2017.
The northeast crop district reports the highest average cash rent at $244 per acre. That is up $3, 1.2%, from a year earlier. The south-central district, as usual, lists the lowest average cash rent at $174 per acre. That is down $6, 3.3%, from 2017.
Grundy County reports the highest average county cash rent at $290 per acre. Sioux County follows with an average of $269 per acre with Dubuque County at $267, Osceola at $266, Delaware County at $264 and Tama County at $263. Clarke County lists the lowest average county cash rent at $126 per acre followed by Lucas at $148, Decatur at $149 and Lee-Van Buren at $152. In all, 16 counties report a countywide average cash rent of less the $200. Fourteen of those are located south of Interstate-80 with the bulk along or near the Missouri border. Two counties, Emmet and Howard, are along the Minnesota border.
Two counties, Dubuque and Plymouth, report a range of cash rents as high as $400 per acre for high-quality cropland. However, Plymouth also sports a cash rent as low as $175 per acre for the same quality of land. Its average cash rent for high-quality cropland is $273 and its countywide average cash rent for all qualities of cropland is $235. In Dubuque County, the lowest cash rent reported for high-quality land is $275. Its countywide average for high-quality ground is $319. Its 2018 countywide average cash rent for all qualities of cropland is $267.
Note: The value of an average acre of Iowa farmland was $7,183 in 2016, according to Iowa State University’s annual survey. That value represented an 18% decline from the high of $8,716 set in 2013. The 2017 survey reported a 2% rise in farmland values. The slight uptick in cash rents this year suggests farmland values could post a similar boost by the end of the year.
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