Doug Cropp


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The year 2021 is hoped to be a better one than 2020. For farmers who raise corn and soybeans, so far, so good.

Doug Cropp, grain merchandiser for Premier Cooperative, said a year ago at this time, the per-bushel price for corn was $3.56 and for soybeans, $8.07.

Today’s prices are about $6 higher for soybeans and $2 more for corn.

“Who would have thought?” Cropp said on March 16. He noted there’s been “a little bit of a sideways market” in the previous couple of weeks, though “they’ve pretty much been on an uptrend.”

Cropp said he believes prices will remain high, primarily because of the export demand from China and the bad growing season in South America.

“Corn is well bolstered by China’s demand,” Cropp said. “They bought another 65 million bushels last week. When you look at these types of numbers for corn, do they go higher?”

Cropp said they could.

The same goes for beans. The grain merchandiser said there “is a good chance” prices will continue to rise, possibly up to the $16-a-bushel level, until new crop supplies come in this fall.

Cropp said the USDA estimate of the carryout level (the amount left at the end of the marketing year) of beans is 120 million bushels. That sounds like a lot, he said, but it might not be enough to meet demand domestically.

He called it “basically pipeline levels, which means that’s down to the supply that’s in transit in a train or a truck.

“We always import a few beans, but we might have to import more,” he said. “This could be a year when we get into that July-August timeframe just before the new crop beans are available that there might be some people putting some trades on to bring in some new soybeans.”

That would be more likely on the East Coast, which is far enough away from the Midwest supply to make it worth the users’ while to import beans.

Corn prices, Cropp said, should definitely remain strong until the USDA determines how many acres are planted and how the crop develops.

Farmers are expected to plant close to a record number of acres this year.

The acreage-planted numbers will be released March 31. Some projections place the acreage level at 90 million for soybeans and 90 to 94 million for corn.

Corn acreages used to be much higher than that planted into soybeans. But Cropp said the numbers have come closer to the 50-50 level due to the higher soybean prices.

The end of June USDA survey will give a better picture of how close those numbers really are.

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