Corn+Soybean Digest

Rethink your 2015 corn budget

With the continued downward slope of December 2014 and 2015 corn futures, weak profit prospects for 2015 corn have been projected as even worse by University of Illinois farmdoc economists.

Gary Schnitkey, U of I ag economics professor, last week announced revised crop budgets for 2015, two months after farmdoc’s original budget projections. “The major change has been a reduction in commodity prices,” he indicated.

“The June version had per bushel prices of $4.20 for corn, $10.50 for soybeans and $5.50 for wheat. The September version of the budgets has have prices of $3.80 for corn, $9.75 of soybeans and $5 for wheat. These new prices result in very low returns, and indicate the need to conserve cash.

Based on Chicago Mercantile Exchange futures prices in mid-September, the December 2015 corn contract price decreased from around $4.30 in July 2014 to roughly $3.90. The price of the September 2015 soybean contract decreased from $11.40 in July to $9.70 in September.

Schnitkey said for a typical central Illinois farm with a corn-after-soybeans yield of 199 bushels per acre, projected 2015 operator and land return is $191 per acre. For a typical soybean-after-corn yield of 57 bushels per acre, projected return is $206 per acre.

“With the low crop prices, there’s not much left for any land payment or other large inputs,” says Darrel Good, Illinois Extension economists, noting that growers should watch for market spikes to make sales.

December 2014 corn futures closed Friday at $3.23. The contract was off 8 cents during the week. December 2015 corn closed at $3.68.

The 2014 contract “dropped to a five-year low on Friday,” said Bryce Knorr, senior editor at Farm Futures. “Clear weather should prompt an acceleration in the corn and soybean harvest that is getting under way in the central and upper Midwest.”

Knorr said basis remains “very weak,” due to large supplies and record transportation costs, and “the cost of shipping corn down the Mississippi River to the Gulf is trading at $1.15 per bushel, 63 cents higher than for spring slots.

“With a huge crop confirmed, expect prices to grind lower into harvest, with basis especially weak. Potential for changes in acreage remain a question mark, but more won't be known until next month at the earliest.”

TAGS: Corn
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