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.
New-crop corn still remains in a weather market, analysts believe. But is it one revolving around more rain in the forecast for the Midwest, or one that has seen prices based on steamy hot temperatures the week of July 15.
Worries are that pollination may be hampered even more. Heat is expected to continue in the western Corn Belt, but more moderate conditions are forecast elsewhere.
Cash prices are hovering at levels that are near typical breakeven. Extended good growing conditions could create more price reduction. The government Revenue Protection insurance price of $5.65/bu. protects part of your crop against a sudden meltdown in prices. But if yields drop, maybe not enough.
Ed Usset, University of Minnesota Extension grain marketing economist, says price risk management should be heavy on the minds of farmers – especially those still waiting to make sales.
“For corn producers, particularly those who were reluctant to price 2013 early, the market has moved into difficult territory,” Usset says, adding that $5 December futures translate into a $4.50-4.70/bu. cash price for many Corn Belt producers.
“With production costs higher, this is less than breakeven. My advice is to re-commit to getting some pricing done before harvest, should the market rally in the weeks ahead.
“My sense of urgency is not based on a lower price prediction. It is based on a basic principle of risk management. To have little or nothing priced is to have too many eggs in the higher price basket, and we need to be ready for the lower price scenario.”
Usset says soybeans are a more positive story. “Prices at $12.60/bu. for November soybean futures should translate into a profitable cash price for many,” he says.
But with corn on more shaky ground, he encourages farmers to get with their marketing consultant or broker to determine which price protection move may be best for them.