Cash rents in 2011 and 2012 are likely to reflect next year’s improved returns, the economists say. “Earlier in the year, we had thought that cash rent was going to be fairly flat, but we have heard more about prices going up this fall,” says Duffy, who has heard reports of final cash rent determination being put on hold during the fall price run-up.

In mid-summer, the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers projected that average cash rents would be up $7 to $10/acre in 2011. “That was before $5/bu. corn,” Schnitkey says. “If commodity prices hold, I would think that cash rents would be up more than that.”