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Corn+Soybean Digest

Will corn prices break $3?

Good pollination, good weather and a projected average yield that will push 170 bushels per acre – or more – are putting extensive pressure on corn prices. But will they crash through $3 at your local elevator? It’s not out of the question, says Ed Usset, University of Minnesota grain marketing specialist.

December corn futures ended July at just over $3.67 per bushel. “For the month, corn was down nearly 15.9%, its third straight monthly loss and its biggest monthly drop in a year,” notes Bryce Knorr, senior editor at Farm Futures. That was on Thursday. December corn closed Friday at $3.62.

Usset feels prices may be close to bottoming out. But volatility is still in the equation, and further cratered prices can’t be ruled out. “In my opinion, the bulk of the price drop has already occurred,” he tells Corn+Soybean Digest.

“New-crop prices in southern Minnesota are around $3.20, and this has factored in some great conditions and yield potential. Three-dollars and modestly lower is possible, assuming August rains and adequate heat occur.”

But he wouldn’t rush to get more corn sold. “I would be reluctant to chase this market lower by making sales at these levels,” Usset says.

The Aug. 12 USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report is expected to show continued confidence in a large corn crop. Exports have been good, but not enough to halt downside price pressure.

Knorr says “oversold markets are ripe for some consolidation, but there's no sign the bottom is in for this market yet. Without a new driver for demand, futures could target $3.30 for harvest lows.”

And with $3.30 futures, typical harvest-time basis levels at 30-40 cents-under take cash prices down to 50% or less of what they were not that long ago. So $3 corn may not be the bottom.

TAGS: Marketing
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