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Corn+Soybean Digest

Corn prices losing pop after June 30 crop reports

While the nation celebrated with fireworks, food and fun, there was no pop in corn price. They finished the week in a dud following bearish June 30 crop reports.

CME Group December 2014 corn futures closed at about $4.15 per bushel Thursday (the market was closed July 4), a drop of 20-cents-plus in a week and down from a June 23 spike of $4.56. If projections by university economists and commodity consultants are correct, there’s no suspected spike in site baring a weather-market spark.

“After the holiday weekend, if we don’t get a weather scare, the grain trade may talk about increasing corn yields. That could keep a negative bias on corn,” says Craig Turner, consultant with Daniels Trading in Chicago.

“With the marketing trading at $4.15-$4.17 and if basis is 10 cents under or more, we’re talking $4 local corn. I don’t think anyone wants to sell $4 corn.”

University of Illinois farmdoc economists concluded in their post-crop report analysis that “farmer returns in 2014 are projected to be negative, the first time negative returns occurred in the 2000s.”

USDA forecast corn planted acreage at 91.64 million, little change from its March report. However, the agency also reported June 1 stocks at 3.85 billion bushels, almost 200 million more than Farm Futures estimate, which was in line with average trade guesses,” says Bryce Knorr, senior editor, Farm Futures, sister publication to Corn+Soybean Digest.

USDA’s crop progress report projected a 169-bushel average yield and production could surpass 14 billion bushels, putting further pressure on corn prices.

Turner says his discussions with farmers indicate that the majority of new-crop corn hasn’t been sold. And with mostly good growing conditions outside the rain-soaked Minnesota-Iowa region, “the yield could be 170 bushels. We’ll have to see what the next WASDE (World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates) report says on July 11.”

With low fall corn prices, Turner says “we could see more corn go into storage” after farmers sell enough corn to meet cash flow needs. “The weather market just hasn’t materialized yet,” he says. “It’s all about supply side numbers.”

Gary Schnitkey, Illinois ag economist, notes that average farmer return for corn grown in central Illinois on high productivity farmland was $341 per acre in 2012 and $94 per acre. However, farmer return in 2014 is projected at -$48 per acre. And net income is projected at -$156 per acre.

“Negative returns became a higher probability after the June 30 crop reports,” he says.

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