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Corn Prices, Food Prices and Opportunities

Russel Schwenke, KyCorn President

As the corn supply continues to grow, prices continue to drop. According to an AgriVisor analyst, the price of corn has dropped so much that an ounce of gold can now buy more than 370 bushels of corn, the most since 1975. So it goes with the laws of supply and demand. While many of us in grain production obviously see below breakeven prices as a detriment to our farm enterprises, this may provide us an opportunity to build our customer base. First, however, we must set the record straight about food vs. fuel.

Just two years ago, the corn industry was taking a real lashing from Mother Nature, corn buyers, and food retailers. The U.S. was suffering from one of the worst droughts in history. Corn prices rose dramatically, which is only beneficial if you have a crop to sell, and all fingers pointed toward ethanol as the culprit. Food processors and everyone else down the marketing chain pumped up their prices to follow suit and lobbied tirelessly, even still, to overturn the Renewable Fuels Standard.

While we would now expect to see food prices begin to drop dramatically, that is not likely. A recent report released by the Renewable Fuels Association said fluctuations in corn prices do not significantly affect consumer food prices. This is true even for food items for which corn is a major input, like cereals, snack foods, meat, milk, and eggs. In fact, Consumer Price Index data show there is virtually no correlation at all between monthly average corn prices and retail food price changes since 2007. Read more

Grain Profitability 2014 and Beyond: How Bad Does it Look?

By Greg Halich, University of Kentucky Department of Agricultural Economics
Economic & Policy Update

The grain markets have dropped dramatically in the last 12 months, and the resulting effect on profitability may not be fully understood by farmers, landowners, and lenders. Figure 1 shows the December 2014 Futures contract from 2011 to 2014. Note that before early fall of 2013, this contract was trading mostly between $5-6/bu. This was the expected price for corn that most farmers were banking on during this time period. The current price for this contract is around $3.30/bu, or about $2/bu lower than the average contract price in 2011-2013. The price drop for soybeans (not shown) has been similar, coming down about $3/bu from its average in 2011-2013.The cash price for fall delivery has fallen under important psychological barriers in a number of locations: $3/bu for corn and $10/bu for soybeans. Read more

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National Farm Machinery Show
February 11-14, 2015
Louisville, KY


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AAny member who joins or upgrades their KyCGA membership to LIFETIME will be entered in a drawing for 1 week use of a track hoe or 2 weeks use of a skid steer! The promotion runs through January 2015 and the winner will be announced at the 2015 Kentucky Commodity Conference in Bowling Green. Special thanks to Whayne Supply Company for their full sponsorship of this promotion.

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