WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — According to a recent update from the
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Indiana has set a record high corn yield at 174
bushels per acre.
For the first time ever, Indiana produced about 1 billion
bushels of corn, contributing to the national total of 14 billion.
The combination of high corn yields and average soybean
yields likely will result in a moderation in prices, said Chris Hurt, Purdue
University agricultural economist.
While high production rates are seen as a good thing by
producers, it will not necessarily result in an increase in revenue for farmers.
“They are not just producers — they are business managers,”
Hurt said. “You measure your success as a business manager differently than as a
producer. Last year, for the 2012 crop, they were receiving $7 a bushel. It’s at
$4.60 this year.
“Soybeans last year, $14.50. This year, they are about
$12.25. The other big difference from last year is crop insurance. In 2012, we
had really poor yields, particularly corn at 99 bushels an acre, so we had
record high insurance payments to farmers.”
Last year, $1.5 billion in crop insurance was paid to
Indiana wheat, corn and soybean farmers. This year, the amount will be far less.
“We had record total revenue, including what they sold in
the market plus insurance, and probably record high incomes,” Hurt said. “This
year, the crops look like they will generate 10 percent less revenue.”
Lower grain prices aren’t bad news for all farmers, however.
The reduced grain prices mean lower feed costs for livestock producers, who have
struggled with making a profit the past few years.
Hurt said he expects to see a slow increase in production
that will be evident first in poultry and later in hogs and cattle.
This year’s harvest also presents a unique situation for row
crop farmers across America.
“We have something we haven’t seen now since about 2006, and
that is plenty of corn,” the economist said. “The supply, the ability to produce
corn, has caught up to demand.”
As 2014 approaches, farmers will talk about how many corn
acres need to be planted in the new year. According to Hurt, the signals are
clear — it’s time to plant less corn and more soybeans.
With a plateau in demand for ethanol and plenty of corn, the
scene for farmers is changed. Hurt said Purdue’s budgets are suggesting there
will be higher returns on soybeans than corn in 2014.
“We don’t have the big demand growth anymore,” he said.
“This is going to be a new era where we have supplies of crop in U.S. and the
world in better balance with demand, so there’s a moderation of prices.”
Because of low prices, farmers are storing aggressively,
Hurt said. Buyers will have to move prices up to get some of the grain out of
“Overall, there is a real sense that we are through with the
$6, $7, $8 corn prices,” Hurt said. “We are going to moderate more to the $4 to
$5 range. Soybeans are more in the $11 to $12 range going through the next