On April 9, a farmdocdaily post released estimates of 2013 cash rents on professionally managed farmland based on a survey conducted by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. The midpoint cash rent is $396/acre for excellent qualify farmland with corn yield over 190 bu. The $396/acre cash rent is above the $333 operator and land return calculated above for high productivity farmland with a 195bu./acre expected corn yield.

The Illinois Society reports a 2013 midpoint cash rent of $339/acre for farmland with corn yields between 170 and 190 bu./acre. Low-productivity farmland with a 183-bu./acre yield has an operator and land return of $291 per acre (See Table 1). Similar to high-productivity farmland, the current cash rent of $339/acre is above the $291/acre operator and farmland return.

The Illinois Society reported a 2013 midpoint cash rent of $285/acre for farmland with expected yield between 150 and 170 bu./acre. In the calculations above, lower-productivity farmland with a 160-bu./acre corn yield has $211/acre of operator and land return (see Table 1). Similar to the higher-productivity class, the $285/acre cash rent exceeds the $211 operator and land return.

Professional farm managers tend to have above average cash rents. The USDA reports average cash rents by county (see this farmdocdaily article for a map). A number of these average cash rents are near the above-calculated operator and land returns, particularly in central Illinois. For example, average cash rent is $324/acre in Sangamon County, $326 in Macon County, $313 in Logan County. These averages are only slightly below the $333/acre operator and land return for high-productivity farmland. Given that there is a wide range of rents summarized in an average county cash rent, there likely are a large number of cash rents above the operator and land returns shown in Table 1.