As corn producers conclude a season riddled with trade disruptions, challenging weather patterns and tumultuous markets, many farmers are simply hopeful for an average corn crop in the New Year.
Statewide, corn acres are poised to be a mixed bag. Texas Corn Producers Board Chairman Robert Gordon, Dalhart, anticipates an average corn acreage — potentially less than last year.
“We’re all trying to raise as bountiful a crop as we can as affordably as we can,” Gordon says. “We can only trim input costs a certain amount before negatively impacting our yield potential and return on investment.”
TCPB Secretary Daniel Berglund, El Campo, says farmers in his area are looking to increase corn acreage.
“In the Coastal Bend, corn acres have the potential to increase,” Berglund says. “The land is set up nicely for the 2020 crop if we can get the necessary moisture.”
As field prep is wrapping up in his region, should farmers receive the necessary moisture, Berglund says some producers may plant early.
Texas farmers are no stranger to anticipating uncertain weather and environmental concerns. Through ongoing research efforts funded by the state’s checkoff, TCPB is hopeful to advance aflatoxin mitigation with continued trials to bring FourSure, a next-generation bio-control, to market.
But what is weighing heaviest on farmers’ minds is hedging impacts of a downturned commodity market.
"Recent months – if not years – have been a challenge for farmers,” Gordon says. “As trade negotiations have drawn out, tariffs have hurt our input costs, we’ve lost market share in some regions and price competitiveness in the international market has suffered as a whole.”
Noting increased farmer costs for equipment, repairs and seed, Gordon acknowledges that the negative impact prolonged trade negotiations have on farmers reaches beyond the market where they sell their corn and corn products.
Recent movement on trade agreements with Mexico, Canada and Japan are promising to add some stability to the market, Gordon adds.
“Having the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in place alongside that of Japan will help some; however, access to the Chinese market plays a big factor for our commodities as a whole,” Gordon says. “China is a significant buyer for soybeans and other commodities. The corn market is closely tied to other agricultural commodities, particularly soybeans, so negative impacts on their market, in turn, hurt the corn market as well.”
Mitigating risks is essential for farmers. With the 2018 farm bill program enrollment open and including changes, TCPB encourages the state’s corn farmers to consider available options through the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. A yield update and program selection tool, created by the Ag and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University, is available online to help growers determine the best choice for their operation. Go to online at www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/farm/farmbill/2018.
While 2020 expectations may still be a bit fuzzy for producers, promotion, education and research funded by checkoff funds through TCPB are key to broadening market opportunities for corn farmers, says Gordon. Additionally, the advocacy efforts of Texas Corn Producers Association and its membership are essential to working toward sound farm policy – creating a favorable environment for corn farmers in the state.
Source: Texas Corn Producers, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.