Thursday, May 24, 2018
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High corn yields drop price, have far-reaching effect on market


Corn prices have dropped to a five-year low across Ohio. The drop in corn prices likely will help to bring down meat prices as well.

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DAYTON — Near-perfect weather conditions are creating a predicted bumper crop for Ohio corn farmers, but the high yields this year and from last year are forcing a drop in prices not seen in the past five years.

The drop is bad for farmers but consumers can expect lower food prices, experts said. Meat prices likely will decline because the price of the feed for the animals is lower.

Corn prices dropped 38 percent from $6.95 a bushel in July, 2013, to $4.37 a bushel late last week, said John Miyares, a statistician with the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Great Lakes Regional Field Office.

That’s the lowest price since 2009. Prices of other crops have fallen sharply as well, with soybeans trading near two-year lows and wheat near four-year lows, Mr. Miyares said.

“[Corn] prices were artificially high in the past few years,” said Jeff Wuebkur, a Darke County corn, soybeans, and livestock farmer. “Crops were good last year, and this year they’re just as good. There’s more corn and more [soy]beans than ever.”

Corn has the potential to reach 2003’s record of 13.925 billion bushels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its midyear report.

Ohio farmers planted more soybeans this year than last, and so far the crops are faring well, with 83 percent at fair to excellent, the National Agricultural Statistics Service Great Lakes Region said. But soybean prices also are down slightly because of a record projected harvest this year, from $15.10 a bushel in July last year to $14.10 in June.

“Favorable early July crop conditions and weather support an outlook for record yields across most of the Corn Belt, however, for much of the crop, the critical pollination period will be during middle and late July,” the USDA said.

High corn prices the past few years have meant high meat prices in grocery stores since 2012. The sudden decline in corn prices may create a price drop for meat prices in the next two years, said Sam Custer, an Ohio State extension outreach coordinator in Darke County.

“The livestock guys benefit because [corn feed] is a cheaper input, so food costs are down,” Mr. Custer said. “Their profit will be higher, but they’re at the point where they’ve lost money in the past few years.”

Ethanol prices, though, will most likely be more reasonable, Mr. Custer said. The USDA projected corn used to produce ethanol would be at 25 million bushels higher based on the pace of production to date.

Low corn prices will impact other commodities, including farmland, which Mr. Custer said would most likely drop.

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