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Grain market trends from past year

Photo by Ben Nuelle

This past year can be described as “atypical” and “challenging,” among many other things. A market analyst says the grain markets experienced a mix of emotions. However, the overall pattern remained the same.

Grain farmers faced a slew of challenges in 2018, from growing a crop to marketing a crop. Joe Vaclavik, owner of Standard Grain, says the grain markets were normal in some respects.

“It was normal in the fact that we had big crops,” Vaclavik said. “Your corn and soybean markets, in particular, didn’t do anything totally out of the ordinary, in terms of seasonality. (They) topped out in the spring and drifted lower when it was a sure thing that we had big crops. That’s pretty normal stuff.”

However, the markets were abnormal in some respects. Vaclavik sites trade tensions with China, which hampered United States export markets and subsequently, balance sheets.

“It was abnormal because of these Chinese tariffs, on soybeans in particular, and the damage they have done to the export market and subsequently to the balance sheets,” Vaclavik said. “That was kind of an outlier, not something we see normally.”

All-in-all, Vaclavik says the grain markets saw a similar pattern to that of the past several years.

“Overall, we are still in this same pattern that we’ve been stuck in for the last four-and-a-half years, in terms of prices,” Vaclavik said. “Corn markets are kind of in the middle of this range that we’ve established in the last four years, and the soybean market may be a little more toward the lower end of it.”