The latest USDA cash rental survey shows decreasing rental rates in some areas of Missouri, says University of Missouri Extension agricultural business specialist Joe Koenen.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its annual survey September 9th. Atchison County in extreme northwest Missouri topped the state report with rental rates of $192 an acre, with the bulk of the northwestern counties, north of the Missouri River topping the $150 an acre level.

Scotland County published rental rates on average of $133 an acre, compared to $141 an acre in Clark County, $127 in Knox County, $114 in Schuyler County and $92 in Adair County.

“Some of the better crop counties in central and north Missouri showed a decrease in rental rates, reflecting lower crop prices,” Koenen says. Other counties remain unchanged, and pasture rates held stable or showed slight increases.

Koenen, who teaches classes on cash rent trends for MU Extension, says the NASS report could be an early indicator of rent trends.

“Low prices and high corn yields will put pressure on rental rates,” he said. “Soybean prices dropped, but not as much as corn prices. A decrease in soybean prices also will likely affect rent prices. How much is still to be determined.”

Koenen says it is important for landowners and renters to know yields on cropland. Yields and land quality affect what the renter pays.

Pasture and forage land rental rates remain stable, he says. “Lower livestock prices will likely put some pressure on pasture rental rates, but they are not likely to decrease as much due to the current competition and lack of available pasture.” Factors besides yield, such as good fences and adequate water, also affect pasture rental rates.

Last year, an MU Extension survey showed corn dryland rent averaged $145.50 per acre per year statewide while soybean cropland averaged $148.74. Good pastureland ranged from $10 to $100 per acre, with the average at $38.41. Scotland County’s pasture rental rate average was $36.50 an acre. Schuyler County was tops in the state at $56.50 on average per acre, one of just three counties (Atchison and Livingston) with an average pasture rental topping out over $50 an acre.

Atchison County, in the far northwestern corner of the state, topped cash rental rates at $192 per acre. Iron and Crawford counties in southern Missouri published the lowest rates at $18 and $17 per acre, respectively.

Koenen recommends that landowners keep abreast of changing trends to assure fair leases.

The MU Extension guide “Farm Lease Agreement” (G426) is available for free download at