It’s that time of year! When experts give their predictions for what will unfold in the New Year. And experts in the agricultural industry are ready with their predications for 2017.

Many in the agricultural industry are looking with cautious optimism to the New Year and there is hope that it will bring relief to farmers who continue to struggle with low commodity prices. This optimism stems from the fact that many analysts are predicting a recovery in commodity prices as corn and soybean supplies begin to decline and consumption around the world increases.

So what are some other important Ag trends to keep an eye on in 2017?

Trend #1: Slowing Machine Sales

Farmers will be much more likely to buy used equipment or try to get another year out of current equipment instead of making new purchases. Another factor in fewer machinery sales is elevated inventories for equipment sellers and a decrease in value for trade-ins. And while there are definite tax benefits to buying new, the reality is that farmers don’t have a whole lot to write off.

Trend #2: A Continued Interest in Precision Ag

Precision Ag will continue to pique the interest of farmers but price will be an issue. Farmers also are expected to continue to take an interest in free software categories but it is not known what will happen once these software offerings are no longer free.

Trend #3: Crop Protection will be a Hot Button Issue

Crop insurance will continue to be the most popular risk management tool that farmers employ. When it comes to weed-management issues, farmers are expected to face tremendous challenges with herbicide-resistant varieties. The expense of name-brand products to fight these weeds points to the use of generic products, however. Demand is expected to be light for insecticides and fungicides.

Trend #4: Decrease in Fertilizer Costs

Lower energy costs mean fertilizer prices should come down in 2017. Analysts predict that global supply and demand issues for all nutrient categories will continue pressure on prices, benefitting farmers.

Trend #5: Lower Fuel Costs

A decrease in fuel costs will offer relief to farmers and the Ag economy as a whole. Biodiesel and ethanol consumption also is expected to increase slightly.