ADVERTISEMENT

Crop outlook is mixed for Winona-area farmers

  • Associated Press
  • August 24, 2014 - 5:40 PM

WINONA, Minn. — A record corn crop is predicted this year, but that might not lead to a bigger profit — or any profit — for farmers.

The Winona Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1nrdT3i ) that crop prices are down significantly, but the cost to plant, fertilize and maintain fields has stayed high, cutting into farmers' bottom lines.

A few years ago, the price for corn was more than $7 per bushel. On Friday, corn was priced at $3.71 per bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. Locally, corn was priced at $3.21 per bushel.

"Things are going to pinch a little this year," Winona County Farm Bureau president Glen Groth said. "We can survive one down year for crop prices, but this year has been especially tough."

One reason for the cheap prices has been the amount of production in recent years. Nationally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting 14 billion bushels of corn will be produced this year, up 1 percent from last year. Minnesota is predicted to supply nearly 10 percent of the harvest, producing more than 1.3 billion bushels with a forecast yield of 168 bushels of corn per acre, up from 160 last year.

University of Minnesota Extension educator Jake Overgaard said Winona County farmers saw better weather than much of the state this spring. The area didn't see some of the extreme rains and flooding that other areas experienced, and while planting came later than normal, farmers got crops into the ground sooner than elsewhere in Minnesota.

Groth and Overgaard said the late start to planting means the harvest will be pushed back, but the timing still depends on the weather.

"It all depends on how warm things are this fall," Overgaard said. "If we would have had a better spring, we could feel more confident going into the harvest."

© 2014 Star Tribune