WASINGTON – According to a February 4th Farm Journal poll, 20 percent of the 1,200 corn growers surveyed had not yet priced any of their 2014 corn crop. 17 percent had only priced at most a quarter of their 2014 corn crop.
“Farmers are looking at a much different price picture than they’ve been used to in recent years,” explains Agriculture Department Grains Analyst Jerry Norton. Without a shortage of on-farm storage, Norton believes marketing corn has become something of a waiting game.
“Many farmers are looking for pricing opportunities to come down the road,” he says. “That’ll happen if you have problems with spring planting or if you have any kind of dryness this summer. You’ll get some rallies of that weather, and that’s a good opportunity, but you’ve got to be careful about waiting too long. Obviously, you’re not going to be wanting to move this crop in late July if everything is looking good for the 2015 crop.”
Norton adds that it’s a different story on soybean for some producers, since beans have seen strong demand since harvest.
“Farmers have sold a lot of soybeans,” says Norton. “Prices for soybeans have been very favorable: coming off the combine, there were good prices. We continued to see good prices out here until recent weeks. It started to weaken below $10 just since the first of January, but we’re still looking at prices in mid-$9 range, which is a good price for soybeans. And farmers have sold a lot of soybeans, and we’re shipping a lot of soybeans at record levels to China. Consequently, there’s been good opportunities to market your other crop, if you’re a corn-soybean farmer, and you’ve sat on the corn, and held the corn back, in hopes of some higher prices, and now, hopefully, you’ll get a few rallies to sell that corn on too.”
In the 2012/2013 marketing year, the average price for a bushel of corn was just below $7. USDA expects the season-average farm price for corn this year between $3.40-$3.90 per bushel. That’s worth noting, due to the fact that in 2014, Iowa farmers paid about $4.25 per bushel for corn after soybeans and nearly $5 for each bushel of corn after corn, assuming average yields.
Also in the Farm Journal poll, 18 percent of respondents had priced or sold all of their 2014 corn crop.