The Upside of Low Prices

January 31, 2014 10:53 PM
The Upside of Low Prices

While most grain farmers would love to see last year’s high prices, today’s lower prices are rejuvenating demand.

With grain prices, market expert Jerry Gulke says he doesn’t know for sure where prices are going, but he does know where they are not going – back up to record highs. But, he also doesn’t think they are headed too much further south, either.

Farming is entering a systemic change, Gulke, president of The Gulke Group, told attendees at the 2014 Top Producer Seminar in Chicago, Ill. "The easy money of selling high and buying low is gone," he says.

Hear Gulke's full audio analysis:



Record-high prices for corn and other grains turned on production in other areas of the world, Gulke says. "This global marketplace is now a two-way street," he says. Of course, more competition typically equals a much larger supply of grain, which was the case last year. This caused prices to drop.

But, today’s low prices are the source of some good news. Gulke says we are now in a demand-rebuilding state. "With today’s prices, we can buy demand back and slowly build our way out of this," he says.

The livestock industries, exports and ethanol will all be anxious to use $4 corn, Gulke says. "Our feeding rates go up when corn is cheap," he says.

Of course, $4 corn doesn’t sound as grand as the $6 and $7 corn seen recently. "But, I think most guys think they can make money at $4.50 corn, assuming they get a reasonable yield," he says.

With these tighter margins, Gulke says, farmers should really explore their crop insurance options for this year. He says farmers should aim for 85% protection. Additionally, he says farmers should look to reduce their input costs and cost of production, if possible.

Farmers will need to use marketing tools to stay competitive and profitable this year, Gulke says. "Be flexible and use the tools that you have to keep from making a big mistake," he says. "This is not an easy task to go through, but we can make it through these times."


Have a question for Jerry? Contact him at 815-721-4705 or


To read more news and find additional information on the Top Producer Seminar or Tomorrow’s Top Producer events, visit


Thank you to the 2014 Top Producer Seminar sponsors:
Premier Sponsors: Agrigold, Apache Sprayers, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Cargill, Case IH, Challenger, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, ESN, Firestone, Koch Agronomic Services, RCIS, SFP, Syngenta, Top Third Ag Marketing

Co-Sponsors: Advance Trading, CliftonLarsonAllen, The Gulke Group, Kennedy and Coe, Michelin, Novozymes, OPI Integris, Soybean Premiums, Wyffels Hybrids


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