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Could Low Grain Prices be Behind Us?

August 24, 2013
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
crop tour corn sample

Corn and soybean prices rebounded this week in response to the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Jerry Gulke provides his outlook.

Another Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is in the books. After an intense week of scouting corn and soybean fields across the Midwest, Pro Farmer has provided their estimates for this year’s crop size.

Pro Farmer pegs 2013 U.S. corn crop at 13.46 billion bushels, with an average yield of 154.1 bu. per acre. For soybeans, Pro Farmer pegs the 2013 U.S. soybean crop at 3.158 billion bu., with an average yield of 41.8 bu. per acre.

With its Aug. 12 Crop Production report, USDA pegs the 2013 corn production at 13.8 billion bushels, and the national average yield is set at 154.4 bu. per acre. For soybeans, USDA estimates total production at 3.26 billion bushels. Soybean yields are forecast to average 42.6 bu. per acre.

Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, says he completely agrees with the soybean estimate. "Pro Farmer’s number is close to what we’ve been using," he says.

For corn, Gulke encourages everyone to read the analysis on how Pro Farmer put together their estimates. "The caveat is that in corn, there is potential," he says, as compared to last year when farmers were already harvesting their corn by the week of the Tour. The weather ahead can still have a big impact on yields.

Gulke says farmers pay close attention to the corn estimate. "This does not represent the lofty crop that a lot of thought was out there," he says.

Hear Gulke's full audio analysis:


Soybean Price Outlook

For the week, soybean prices closed more than 40 cents higher for the three nearby contracts. "We started the rally in soybeans a few weeks ago," Gulke says. "That coincided with the drop in condition ratings and overall prospects."

Gulke believes that the market has already started to discount the poor soybean crop. He also reminds that the soybean-planting season in South America is not far away. "They could plant 5 to 7% more soybeans, because corn prices are low," he says.

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