Editor's Notebook: It’s Here: The New World of $3+ Corn

02:44AM Aug 27, 2014
Charlene Finck
Row-crop farmers have fretted about it for years, and livestock producers have prayed it would come. The wait is over: The crescendo of record corn prices has leveled out. The prospect of a bumper crop has pushed corn prices down to levels we haven’t seen since 2009.

Here’s what $3 to $4 corn means for the agriculture industry:
  • First, the good news: lower feed costs and higher profits for livestock producers. Cattlemen are in for the most profitable years in decades!
  • Ethanol plants are smiling at lower production costs and higher margins. 
  • Some young crop farmers are getting their first taste of tight times.  
  • Input costs fall under sharp scrutiny. That means applying what Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie has coined ARMY recs—Allocating Resources to Maintain Yield. 
  • Farmers who have been holding off on retirement to enjoy the most profitable years of their lifetime might hang up their spurs. 
  • Producers will turn more attention to diversifying enterprises while pushing to produce more bushels to close the income gap. 
  • An uptick in revenue claims on crop insurance this fall is likely.
  • More cash rents will be renegotiated.
  • Less new paint will roll onto farms.

As one of our readers recently shared: This is the kind of times that separates the men from the boys. "We have to manage, produce and market ourselves through these times," he said. "Hard times bring opportunities for the best farmers, but it’s going to take some getting used to." No doubt about that.