Will we see a turnaround in corn prices?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

Watching the corn market slide the last three weeks has been painful for producers. However, it feels a little too early for the corn market to pull back this much this fast. It seems possible the corn market could turn around like beans did in the fall.

Last September when beans were trading around $13.80, the trade was suggesting the U.S. bean export program may be in trouble due to low water levels and a slow export pace. Many market participants thought that beans would trade in a $13.50 to $14.50 range going forward because of concerns over Brazil’s large upcoming bean crop that could potentially make meeting USDA export estimates at the time more difficult. 

Two months later, Brazil was still on track to raise a record crop, and despite dry conditions in Argentina, it was still likely South America’s production would hit a new record.  Many still expected the U.S. export pace to slow by February but beans were then trading in a $14 to $15 range. After a historic drought plagued Argentina, and U.S. exports still running strong in March the bean market has been trading above $15 in 29 out of the last 31 trading sessions. 

The corn market has had a slow export pace so far, similar to what beans experienced last fall. However, like beans, corn exports could pick up quickly and exceed current estimates too. This last week export sales were more than double that of the previous week.

It is also important to keep in mind, March is not a month when weather issues have a big impact on world corn production. Argentina’s crop is near the end of the growing season. Brazil’s second crop is mostly planted with at least another month before pollination starts.  Plus, the U.S. does not start planting the bulk of the crop until mid-April with pollination in July. 


Increased corn exports would certainly help corn values to rebound, and last week’s sales increase was a good start. Hopefully that will continue.  But in the end, weather will be a big unknown that moves the market the most in either direction. 

Please email jon@superiorfeed.com with any questions or to learn more. Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.

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