Corn usage for ethanol will likely be 4-6% higher for the current 2013-2014 marketing year compared to last year, according to Bob Wisner, retired Iowa State University Extension grain marketing specialist. But it’s more in the fuel end of corn usage through the ISU Ag Marketing Resource Center.
Projected budgets for 2014 corn and soybean production are out – and they’re pretty scary. But Dave Hommel has faced tight years in the past. And a balanced offense with staggered small sales helps keep profits at levels he can live with.
Eastern Europe, South America and other grain-producing regions have scooped up much of the U.S. corn export market after last year’s drought-fueled higher grains prices. “They have geared up for the corn export business,” says Chris Hurt, Purdue University Extension economist. “Our high prices helped unleash the competition. It will be hard to get back to 1.5 billion bushels in U.S. corn exports.”
With November soybean prices perched in the teens, it appears growers may escape big drops in the market that often accompany combines in the field. Weekend rains did cause a sharp drop Monday in the November 2013 futures contract, down some 50¢/bu. from near $14. The contract closed Tuesday at $13.42, down 6¢ more.
The steady slide of corn prices took a detour for the better this week, as weather markets, projections from USDA and a major crop tour eased the risky road to $4 cash. And even if $4 corn is found, a Texas A&M economist feels user demand will support higher prices down the road.
By managing his corn pricing in a conservative but prudent manner, Don Villwock normally hits his target of being in the top-third of the year’s marketing price. He uses the newest marketing tools like short-dated new-crop options.
Despite gloomy projections for slow economic growth in China and other big buyers of U.S. soybeans and corn, any experienced farmer knows there’s never a guarantee that markets will be up or down. In July, November 2013 soybean futures traded at $12.30 early on, before rallying to $12.90, and backing off to below $12.20 on Tuesday. Swings of 60¢ and 70¢ can mean $35-40/acre for typical soybean crops.
There were many who expected December 2013 corn futures prices to already be below $4.50. That was before continued wet weather slowed planting and crop progression. The contract closed Friday at $5. That’s close to $2 below what the old-crop July contract expired at last week. Tight supplies kept old-crop higher.
Despite logistical problems in Brazil and Argentina, there remains a strong chance for a big South American soybean crop. That – on top of predicted record U.S. planted acres –can easily pressure U.S. soybean prices, says Dan O’Brien, Kansas State University Extension agricultural economist.
Are you bullish or bearish on new-crop corn prices? No matter which way you lean, the current futures price level near $5.60 – a price seen at least once every month since February – offers a reasonable profit margin.
USDA’s Crop Progress report Monday documented what weather-weary farmers have experienced with planters idled by wet, wet fields. Soybean planting is 17% behind a five-year average. But how long can delayed planting continue to hold soybean prices at their current levels?
Seasonal price patterns suggest that corn prices will likely peak in early July. But with recent price patterns caused by drought, bullish oil and other factors, will that be too early or too late to book much of the 2013 crop?
November soybean futures have seen little movement since late April; soybean prices have ranged from $11.90 to $12.40/bu. They closed Monday (May 13) at $12.09. And with USDA’s projected average season prices as low as $9.50, beans in the teens and even $12 prices may soon be history.
Old-crop corn likely hasn’t seen it’s bottom, even after a $1/bu. cave-in following the bearish grain stocks report March 28, warns Ed Usset, University of Minnesota grain marketing specialist. Usset’s book, "Grain Marketing is Simple (it's just not easy)," examines the difficulties in knowing when to make grain sales. It couldn’t be more relevant than now.