By the numbers, all signs continue to point to a strong finish to the year for farm equipment and agriculture in general. And if you like numbers, here's a few to chew on.
While corn, beans and wheat tend to hog the headlines, right now it's the price of hogs and other livestock that bear watching.
Last week, USDA issued its October Agricultural Prices Report. It showed that the prices farmers received for agricultural products improved in October, while the prices paid for goods and service stayed even with the previous month.
The All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by farmers moved up to 185% during October (compared to the 1990-92 baseline of 100%). This is up 3.4% from September. The Crop Index rose by 1.5% and the overall Livestock Index by 0.7%. But for meat animals, the October index was up 4% from last month and 25% year-over-year.
Here's a few more number specifically on ag machinery. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on a seasonally adjusted basis, farm equipment shipments reached $2.52 billion in September. That's up 9% year-over-year. Year-to-date ag equipment shipments are up 16%.
For reference purposes, the most recent peak in equipment shipments was $2.58 billion in September 2008, and the most recent low point was $1.7 billion in August 2009.
To top it off, a recent survey of farm equipment dealers by UBS Investment Research shows that 80% of dealers believe that accelerated depreciation available for ag machinery through the end of this year will have a positive impact on end-of-year sales.
It's a good time to be in agriculture.