December corn futures ended the week at about $4.18 per bushel, up about a nickel and enough to add a little strength to the price discovery level for crop insurance purposes. And for farmers worried that prices could tank well under $4, it may be a sign to forward contract a few acres, says Dan O’Brien, Kansas State University ag economist.
Once again, every quote on the CME Group soybean board was below $10; not a good sign for farmers eager to catch some sort of rally to make some early-season sales. March futures hit $10.60 in early January, but closed down about $1 below that at $9.61 on Friday.
New-crop December corn prices topped $4.30 per bushel in mid-week following a few bull signs from the Jan. 12 USDA crop reports. But that doesn’t generate a strong enough cash price to temp many farmers to make early sales, say two university grain-marketing specialists.
Short-dated new crop options (SDNC), available since mid-2012 from the CME Group, Chicago, Ill., provide a short-term alternative for trading new-crop corn and soybeans as well as hard red winter wheat and soft red winter wheat. CME reports that more than 2.5 million SDNC contracts have been used.
Soybean futures ended 2014 on a whimper, down close to 20¢ per bushel across the board. The market didn’t act much better the first the first day of 2015, with the January contract closing at $10.02. November slid below $10, closing at $9.93.
With corn futures prices seeing a nice little rally above $4 per bushel, it may be time to look for early 2015 crop pricing opportunities in a market that will likely see continued volatility next year, says Scott Irwin, University of Illinois ag economist.
The process of enrolling in either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, which began in October and runs through spring, requires farmers to update their base acres and yields, then make a one-time decision for the program they will use for the next five years.
Good foreign demand for U.S. soybeans is helping bean markets stay above $10 per bushel, with the January 2015 contract closing up about 25¢ at $10.36 Friday. March ended the week at $10.42, up 24¢. And anticipation of possible reduction in soybean ending stocks could add further support to bean prices, says Bryce Knorr, senior editor at Farm Futures.
Jon Everett didn’t dodge opportunities to get about 70% of his 2014 crops marketed last winter and spring, when corn prices were still pushing $5 per bushel or better and soybean prices were near $11.80 per bushel. And he and his farming partners wasted no time in making sales on about 40% of their expected 2015 corn and soybean production.
December 2014 corn futures closed Friday at about $3.72 per bushel and have been above $3.60 more than a month. That’s after they had tanked to $3.20 earlier this fall. Some contend the rally has been caused by harvest delays. But Darrel Good, University of Illinois ag economist, believes the rally is likely due to anticipation of fewer harvested acres.
Soybean growers should consider taking advantage of the nice rally, said Chris Hurt, Purdue University ag economics professor.
“I think this is a good selling opportunity. It’s about as much recovery as we can expect in the short run. Futures at near $10.50 is a whole lot better than $9.”
Michael Slack is taking a more diversified approach to getting his corn and soybeans marketed. He’s leaning on two separate entities: one for its advice and the other for grain contracting programs. One segment pools grain with other bushels to demand a better price from big buyers, while the other offers the Kansas grower periodic sell-period notifications.
Corn futures have reversed a three-month downward swing to make about a 40¢ per bushel climb since the first of the month. And soybeans can take much of the credit for it, says Craig Turner, analyst for Daniels Trading.
Low soybean, corn and wheat prices have ag lenders nearly as concerned as growers heading into the peak of harvest and 2015. They’re also worried about reduced farm income, price impact on land costs and whether the rail-car shortage in northern states will impact grain movement elsewhere, says Dan O’Brien, Kansas State University grain marketing specialist.