Updated:
Original:

Big U.S. corn crop keeping prices too low for Minnesota farmers to profit

Author:

The new forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows American farmers will likely harvest a record corn crop this fall. But that news is keeping the price of a bushel low enough that Minnesota's flood-diminished crop is unlikely to yield a profit.

A University of Minnesota grain marketing specialist tells MPR News he calculates it costs the state's average farmer $4.50 to $5 to produce a bushel of corn. With market prices steady in the $3 to $4-per-bushel range, Ed Usset says this is shaping up as a tough year for corn farmers.

The USDA forecast for Minnesota says corn farmers can expect to harvest 168 bushels per acre. That's more than last year but MPR notes it's about 20 bushels less than their peers in Illinois and Iowa. Those states did not suffer as much from June's record rainfall, which dropped as much as a foot of water on Minnesota fields.

Lots of soybeans, too

The new forecast shows Minnesota's soybean production rising 15 percent from last year. The Wall Street Journal reports the nation is headed for the biggest soybean harvest in history, now that the summer rains have replenished soil moisture in parts of the Farm Belt that had been parched.

The Journal says the big soybean forecast pushed prices down 2 percent Tuesday, but MPR says bean prices remain high enough to help Minnesota farmers offset corn losses.

Grain headed for storage

The Associated Press reports the big crop and relatively low prices make it likely more grain will go into storage until prices rise.

The AP says railroad bottlenecks and new storage methods are other factors that have pushed farmers toward storing grain. Permanent on-farm grain bins are letting farmers exercise more control over when they send their crop to market.

Another storage method that's spreading is plastic bags. The AP story says the plastic tubes when filled are 8 to 10 feet in diameter, can be as long as a football field, and can store grain for months. The story quotes Richardton, N.D., farmer Craig Fisher, who sells the bags:

"It's fundamentally changed farming for me. I can farm all I can handle now and not worry about bottlenecks. I can store it in the bags and worry about trucking it later."

While the low corn prices are a problem for farmers counting on a cash crop, they're good news for those raising livestock. It's reduced the price of feed for dairy, beef, and pork producers.

The early summer washout has made forage for livestock scarce in parts of Minnesota. The supply of feed is reportedly down 40 percent this year in seven Minnesota counties where federal officials approved emergency haying and grazing on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.

Next Up

moose minnesota usfws - flickr

MN homeowner mistakes large tent for dead moose

They spotted two people on a security camera dragging the "moose" across a driveway.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

What happens if Mpls. public safety question passes? City memo provides answers

The memo was sent to the mayor and council members Tuesday morning.

Wild

COVID-19 hits Minnesota Wild coaching staff

The Wild will be shorthanded for Tuesday night's game in Vancouver.

Anthony Edwards

Ant takes alpha role after bad loss: 'We need to lock the f*** in'

The Timberwolves' rising star was not happy after Monday's loss to the Pelicans.

parker eisinger

Lakeville football player diagnosed with cancer week before playoffs

The tenth-grader was diagnosed with a form of cancer most commonly found in people aged 65 and older.

University of Minnesota peeping tom suspect

Someone keeps trying to film showering women at U of M

The university has received three reports in the past two weeks.

john Fluevog shoes 1

John Fluevog Shoes closes its Uptown Minneapolis store

The brand could return to the Twin Cities one day.

sidecar drink

Sidecar — Town Hall's new cocktail lounge — is officially open in Minneapolis

It's the fifth Town Hall location, but the first to focus on cocktails.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Here's where DFLers stand on Minneapolis' public safety ballot question

The question would create a Department of Public Safety and remove some requirements.

Arthur Kollie

Man pleads guilty to brutal murder of 14-year-old girl in Fargo

The 14-year-old girl was the victim of a random attack outside a Fargo strip mall.

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates 2021 - jacob frey sheila nezhad kate knuth

Here's who has endorsed the frontrunners for Minneapolis mayor

Politicians and community groups are voicing their opinions.

Related