A bountiful crop

A bountiful crop

In farming, there are good years, and there are great years.

A recent local tour has confirmed what many people can see with their own eyes — it should be a bin-busting corn and bean yield this year.

Regular rains and reasonable weather have combined to produce an expected record crop. Here's one stunning statistic: A Monticello area field is expected to produce an average of nearly 300 bushels of corn.

That number is an outlier by a mile, well over the average of 200-plus bushels in Piatt County. But even the average numbers were distinctly not average. Derrick Bruhn, a grain merchandising manager, called them "the highest numbers I've seen from crop tours in the 13 or 14 years I've been with" Topflight Grain Co. in Monticello. Bruhn also said he's as "optimistic about beans as I am about corn," although no formal yield estimates have been released.

Nothing does a farmer's heart more good than to see lush green fields filled with corn and beans. But, obviously, there is a downside as well — one farmers have to consider but cannot control.

It's the law of supply and demand — the greater the supply, the lower the value of the commodity in great supply.

It was only a couple of years ago when — due to staggering demand and shorter supply, corn was selling for roughly $8 a bushel. That's an unheard-of price that put a fortune in the pockets of farmers who had corn to sell.

This year's price falls far short, standing somewhere around $3.60 a bushel today and $3.45 for the fall. January corn prices range from $3.60 to $3.70 a bushel.

At the same time, bean prices also have fallen from the $14-a-bushel level of recent times. The current price for beans ranges from $12.13 to $12.34. The fall price is significantly lower, about $10.30 a bushel. January soybean prices are only a few cents per bushel higher.

Given increased input costs, profit margins could well drop significantly, even considering the substantially higher yields that are expected.

Such is the nature of the farming game, which actually is serious business. Weather and price can be the bane of the farmer's existence.

Still, those lush corn and bean fields sure look nice, exactly the way they're supposed to look when Mother Nature is in a cooperative mood.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion