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Corn+Soybean Digest

Are $4 corn prices a good place to start 2015 marketing?

With corn futures prices seeing a nice little rally above $4 per bushel, it may be time to look for early 2015 crop pricing opportunities in a market that will likely see continued volatility next year, says Scott Irwin, University of Illinois ag economist.

March 2015 corn futures ended the week at about $4.10, with December 2015 closing at $4.33. Those prices were seen at the same time the last of the big corn crop was heading to the bin. December 2014 futures expired at just over $3.96 in Dec. 14 after threatening to plunge below $3 in early fall.

Irwin says that during regional farm program meetings across Illinois, farmers are pondering where to start early pricing for 2015. “There is a lot of thought about, ‘should I be forward pricing $4 corn and $10 soybeans?’” he says. “Those are pricing points farmers have in mind. A $10 bean hedge is more attractive to me than a $4 corn hedge.”

Economists and consultants see basis as a key factor in deciding when to hedge in futures. Also, price estimates can help growers plan for the year, notes Chad Hart, Iowa State University Extension ag economist, who last week listed corn price estimates for budget planning purposes.

Based on current market conditions, he sees first quarter Iowa prices at $3.70, second quarter at $3.75, third quarter at $3.80 and fourth quarter at $3.85, with a year-long average of $3.78.

“The price projections are for use in developing financial plans such as cash flows, enterprise budgets, capital budgets and other financial projections,” he says. “Due to changing market conditions, the actual prices experienced during these time periods may differ from the projections.”

Prices will continue to be impacted by domestic and world grain production and usage. Farm Futures reports that beneficial weather is helping southern hemisphere crops. “Rain should fall this weekend in the dry crops of Argentina, while the 10-day outlook has rain in southern and central Brazil,” says Bob Burgdorfer, Farm Futures senior editor.

Brugler Marketing & Management notes that a USDA 10-year baseline forecast released Thursday for budgeting purposes anticipates 88 million planted acres in 2015. Production was estimated at 13.45 billion bushels. 

TAGS: Corn
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