Minnesota crops are tall, but shrimpy prices could make profit elusive

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Midway through the growing season, Minnesota's corn and soybean crops are some of the best in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But low commodity prices have farmers concerned about whether they'll break even on what could be a bumper crop.

KEYC notes this is an important week for Minnesota's leading cash crops because plants are pollinating, which helps determine the yields during the fall harvest.

The latest USDA estimates say 85 percent of Minnesota's corn crop – and 78 percent of its soybeans – are in good to excellent condition.

If they had an "unbelievably good" category, Duane Ommodt thinks his corn crop might qualify, the St. James-area farmer tells MPR News.

As usual, there are some exceptions to the prevailing trend. KX News visited a Renville County farmer whose promising-looking crops were shredded by hail last week.

Most of the state's farmers, though, seem pointed toward a strong harvest.

But whether they'll make a profit off it remains to be seen. Ommodt tells MPR: "If you're going to make anything at all, it's going to be almost a miracle."

Minnesota corn farmers went through the big crop-low price scenario last fall. That's one reason some of them switched to soybeans this spring, planting a record number of acres for that crop.

Kent Thiesse, an agricultural banker based in southern Minnesota, says in his Corn and Soybean Digest blog that the last few weeks have seen a significant increase in prices, but cash flow margins remain tight.

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