As a young editor, I heard the often-told story about Chicago Board of Trade commodity brokers who'd peer out their high-rise windows to the west, and "call" the nation's corn crop as they saw it. No crop of any consequence has been in that line of vision for more than 100 years.
But living in the burbs of Chicago, they heard plenty about the rotten spring weather and drenching rains between there and eastern Iowa. No doubt, it saturated their thinking and fed their speculative fear. That's why the commodity markets ran up record new crop prices of almost $8 corn, $16.36 soybeans and $12.45 wheat.
August's USDA report of a 12.29-billion-bushel corn crop was certain to "bum out" CBOT traders. But if this second-largest corn crop on record gets binned, it's bound to benefit livestock and poultry producers and exports. It'll also ensure there's enough crop for ethanol. And that, too, will weigh on fuel prices.
The U.S. soybean crop, while predicted to be slightly lower than July's call, will still be the fourth largest on record.
The corn and soybean news comes on the heels of the best U.S. wheat crop ever. But you haven't heard much yet from the media about the projected 2.46- billion-bushel bumper crop here and in Europe. But it was easy for me to hear Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania growers gleefully harvesting their bumper crops of winter wheat and barley.
So plan ahead, livestock feed buyers. It may be wisest to buy just enough to get by for now. Cheaper grain prices are likely to come by late harvest. And, as always, the best deals are bought right out of the field.