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Continued: Corn price drop pushes farmers to soybeans

  • Article by: DAVID PITT , Associated Press
  • Last update: January 16, 2014 - 9:25 PM

Grant Kimberly, who farms nearly 4,000 acres with his father in central Iowa, said about 10 percent of the fields on his family’s farm remained unplanted last year because of too much moisture. The family hasn’t decided what to plant this year, but current factors favor beans.

“Overall we’re shifting our rotation back to where we want to be, closer to 60 percent corn and 40 percent soybeans. We have been more of a 70/30 in the past few years,” he said.

Wayne Fredericks, who farms nearly 1,000 acres in northeast Iowa near Osage, said he expects many farmers to follow suit.

“Maybe you’ll see some of those acres come back to soybeans, getting closer back to that 50/50 corn-soybean rotation,” he said.

Chris Hurt, an agriculture economics professor at Purdue University in Indiana, said he wouldn’t be surprised to see a few million acres shift from corn to soybeans. He said the demand for corn has slowed and that this will be the first year it’s reflected significantly in the market.

“This is a flattening out of demand for corn,” he said. “You don’t have that growth of demand anymore and here is the year that we’re seeing it.”

Corn was selling above $8 per bushel in the summer of 2012 and had fallen to around $4.26 per bushel Thursday on the Chicago Board of Trade. Last week, corn dropped to its lowest price in more than 3 years on the news of a large increase in ethanol supplies. Prices rebounded slightly on Jan. 10 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut back its estimate of last year’s corn crop by 64 million bushels to 13.9 billion.

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  • Recently planted corn showed promise in late May 2013 in a central Illinois field near Chandlerville, Ill. Falling corn prices and questions about ethanol demand could lead Midwestern farmers to plant fewer acres of corn this year and instead switch more fields to soybeans.

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