Category Archives: corn

Ethanol Profits are Inverse to Corn Profits – For Now

Graph by Don Hofstrand, AgMRC

Ethanol profitability goes up when corn prices go down, and so can serve as a good hedge for corn farmers, provided the ethanol price is strong.

According to Hofstrand, a retired Iowa State University ag economist:

Production and consumption of ethanol remain in relative balance with a slight increase in net exports. This has resulted in a gradual reduction in ethanol stocks which has helped support ethanol price. However, future ethanol usage and price remains clouded due to the ‘blend wall’ and other transportation fuel issues.


source: Do ethanol returns serve as a hedge against low corn prices?

Genetically Modified Seed Use is Up in the U.S.

The United States Department of Agriculture has released a new report on the adoption of herbicide tolerant and insect resistant crops since their introduction in 1996.

According to the report, the percentage of genetically modified (GM) seed within the U.S. corn crop nearly doubled over the past 10 years, from less than half of the total planted corn acres in 2004 to 93 percent this year, up from 90 percent last year.

The report includes these three stats:

· GE soybean is 94 percent of soybean hectarage in the US in 2014 from 93 percent in 2013.
· GE corn is 93 percent of all corn planted in the US, up from 90 percent in 2013.
· GE cotton is 96 percent of all cotton grown in the US, up from 90 percent in 2013.

AND…

The following graphic is from the ISAAA which gives global adoption rates:


USDA adoption of genetically modified seeds in the U.S. report here: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us.aspx#.U-oVKF7oau4

Two Superweed Choices are Dismal

One positive claim that has been touted loudly from the industrial monoculture crop fields over this past decade, or so, has been the more widely adopted no-till farming method. However, the no-till method goes hand-in-hand with herbicides. Only with liberal use of herbicides is tilling unnecessary.

With the emergence of super weeds, however, farmers are getting back to deep tillage as a method of weed removal. That means more soil erosion. Might a return to deep tillage also mean a return to seeds which could care less about their relationship to glyphosate?

Another approach or solution, is for the “emergence” of a new herbicide tolerant crop that would be resistant to both a choline salt of 2,4-D and glyphosate, called Enlist Duo from Dow.

As the USDA is considering the deregulation of corn and soybeans that will not be affected when sprayed with Enlist Duo, fifty Democratic members of Congress are speaking out against EPA and USDA approval of this new herbicide and its related genetically engineered crops.

Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Cotton Prices Down 4 to 19 Percent in 2014/15

Though constantly in flux, the USDA’s projections for the four largest commodities are all trending down this year. As a consequence, farmland prices and machinery sales are also impacted.

Some expect that this year’s corn crop may reach 14.5 billion bushels and yield around 173 bushels an acre. Last year, we had a record corn crop with 13.9 billion bushels.

The expected soybean crop in the U.S. is for 3.8 billion bushels with a yield of 46 bushels an acre. The previous soybean record was 3.4 billion bushels in 2009.

In addition, China, a largest consumer of DDG product, has stopped buying DDG which may contain GM traits they have not approved, causing a huge recent price drop in this niche corn export market product.

The oversupply and lower prices of corn and soybeans also makes it very doubtful that biofuels mandates (and subsidies) will be reduced by the EPA, since lobbyists have a strong foothold around those regions of D.C.


From the USDA…

Current USDA forecasts show declines in U.S. average farm prices for major U.S. field crops—corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton—of 4 to 19 percent in 2014/15. For corn, soybeans, and wheat, this would be the second consecutive year of declining prices. Soybean prices are forecast to decline the most in 2014/15, based on an expected record U.S. crop, combined with ample supplies from Brazil and Argentina.

U.S. corn prices are forecast to fall 10 percent in 2014/15, after a 35-percent decline in 2013/14, also based on a large U.S. corn crop forecast and competition from other exporters like Brazil, Argentina, and Ukraine. U.S. wheat prices are forecast to decline about 4 percent in 2014/15, despite the forecast for smaller U.S. supplies, due to adequate supplies from both traditional and Black Sea wheat exporters.

Although smaller cotton crops are forecast for China and India—the top two global producers—a larger U.S. crop is expected to lead to a fifth consecutive year of rising global cotton stocks and a 12-percent drop in U.S. prices in 2014/15.

source: USDA