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Ag Marketing IQ: Over the past decade, December corn futures have averaged a 64-cent post-harvest rally.

Naomi Blohm, senior market adviser

August 17, 2023

3 Min Read
corn kernels with dollar bill
Getty Images

Sufficient yield, slow export demand and a projected 2 billion bushel carryout for the 2023-24 crop year is weighing on corn prices. Will there ever be a price rebound? When will the bleeding stop?

What’s happened

December 2023 corn futures prices have been sliding lower since late July, with prices now losing $1 in just a matter of weeks. The notion that nationwide corn yield will be ample, with the USDA pegging yield at 175.1 bu. per acre on the most recent WASDE report is the largest anchor on prices. Not helping is a slow U.S. corn export pace compared to years past, with the addition of competition from South America.

With this $1 price drop, many producers are asking if there will be any price rebound in the coming weeks. Good news. From a historical perspective, the answer is likely yes.

From marketing perspective

Seasonally, December corn futures tend to find a price low sometime in late August or early September.

Keep in mind, past performance is not indicative of future results. Yet, looking back at the past decade, 10 out of 10 years, December corn futures have found a “harvest low” and then subsequent price rally. The average rally over the past decade has been 64 cents!

A few notes about this chart I created. For the purpose of this article I used the dates of August 1 through November 15, annually, to quantify the “harvest low” and potential rally time frame. (While the December corn futures contract does indeed trade past November 15, I chose to exclude price values past November 15, as the contract gets near the “first notice day” time frame for contract expiration.)

Also note that in some of the years in the past decade, December corn futures prices did not trade straight up after the “harvest low,” but there were plenty of price zigs and zags along the way.

Prepare yourself

While there is currently no sign of a technical bottoming signal for corn futures, and we are still a couple weeks away from month end, it is important to be aware and watch for a potential “harvest low.” Any type of price rally into year-end would be welcome for many producers as they begin to harvest corn in the field. Be ready to act on it.

Reach Naomi Blohm at 800-334-9779, on Twitter: @naomiblohm, and at [email protected].

Disclaimer: The data contained herein is believed to be drawn from reliable sources but cannot be guaranteed. Individuals acting on this information are responsible for their own actions. Commodity trading may not be suitable for all recipients of this report. Futures and options trading involve significant risk of loss and may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition.  Examples of seasonal price moves or extreme market conditions are not meant to imply that such moves or conditions are common occurrences or likely to occur. Futures prices have already factored in the seasonal aspects of supply and demand. No representation is being made that scenario planning, strategy or discipline will guarantee success or profits. Any decisions you may make to buy, sell or hold a futures or options position on such research are entirely your own and not in any way deemed to be endorsed by or attributed to Total Farm Marketing. Total Farm Marketing and TFM refer to Stewart-Peterson Group Inc., Stewart-Peterson Inc., and SP Risk Services LLC. Stewart-Peterson Group Inc. is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as an introducing broker and is a member of National Futures Association. SP Risk Services, LLC is an insurance agency and an equal opportunity provider. Stewart-Peterson Inc. is a publishing company. A customer may have relationships with all three companies. SP Risk Services LLC and Stewart-Peterson Inc. are wholly owned by Stewart-Peterson Group Inc. unless otherwise noted, services referenced are services of Stewart-Peterson Group Inc. Presented for solicitation.

About the Author(s)

Naomi Blohm

senior market adviser, Total Farm Marketing by Stewart Peterson

Naomi specializes at helping farmers understand how to manage cash marketing needs and understand the importance of managing basis, delivery point considerations, cash flow needs and storage capacity. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Agriculture Business at the University of Wisconsin in Platteville. She has a Master of Science in Adult Education with an emphasis in Ag Economics from the UW-Platteville and a Master Certificate in Global Education, from the UW-Oshkosh.

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