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Serving: United States
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LOOKING AHEAD: Farmers are harvesting large corn and soybean crops in Iowa and the U.S. this fall, as tariffs, trade and export uncertainty hang over the marketplace for 2019.

Does it really pay to store unpriced crops?

Storing unpriced corn and soybeans is focus of Central Iowa Ag Marketing Club meetings in November.

As harvest wraps up, farmers are storing large amounts of unpriced corn and soybeans. On most farms in Iowa, cash flows are expected to remain tight despite access to the new Marketing Facilitation Program payments from USDA.

“Storing these unpriced bushels likely requires an understanding of your own cash flow needs along with a written crop marketing plan,” says Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist. “That plan should consider reasonable price and time objectives, local basis, futures carry and cost of ownership for those stored bushels.”

You can learn to use a variety of crop marketing tools and compare these strategies to just storing bushels unpriced, says Johnson. He encourages farmers to attend one of the three upcoming meetings hosted by the Central Iowa Ag Marketing Clubs in in mid-November. All three meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and doors open at 6 p.m. Dates and locations are:

• Nov. 13. Lynnville, First State Bank, 413 East St.

• Nov. 14. Conrad, Mid-Iowa Co-op Grain Merchandising Office, 209 N. Lincoln St.

• Nov. 15. Ogden Community Center, 114 SW Eighth St. 

Compare crop marketing strategies
The featured speakers will be ISU’s Steve Johnson, along with Ed Kordick, commodity services manager with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. They will team teach on the topic “Does Storing Unpriced Crops Really Pay.”

Participants attending the meeting will review the importance of understanding basis, along with carry in the market, and they will see the results of comparing the cost of ownership using central Iowa trends for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 crops.

Club meetings are open to the public and there may be a small fee that can be paid at the door. For further information, contact the Poweshiek County Extension Office at 641-623-5188, the Grundy County Extension Office at 319-824-6979 or the Boone County Extension Office at 515-432-3882.

For more information on ISU Extension crop marketing education including videos, a marketing tools workbook, as well as basis and cash price tracking tables, see

Low prices likely
With many trade policy issues and export prospects for 2019 still up in the air, uncertainty for corn and soybean prices abounds. “The biggest factor hanging over the market and influencing current crop prices and farmers’ decisions for next year is large yields and big crops,” says ISU grain marketing economist Chad Hart.

The uncertainty on trade saw a little relief when NAFTA was recently replaced with the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The U.S. and Mexico reached agreement at the end of August, and Canada joined the agreement a month later. “The outlook for exports didn’t change too dramatically, as the market likely factored the agreement into prices before the agreement was officially reached,” Hart says.

The trade agreement that still remains out of reach is the one with China, as disagreements have escalated into multiple rounds of tariffs, including a 25% duty on U.S. soybean shipments to China. Thus, a major trade war between the U.S. and China is still going on and ag has been impacted with a decline in both U.S. grain sales and meat sales to China.

Hart says other export markets for U.S. corn have helped support corn, but with China being such a big factor in U.S. soybean exports, there is a chance U.S. soybean exports will decline this year.

TAGS: Management
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