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Low prices the new norm?

(CIFN file photo)

WATSEKA – As we look back on 2016 and ahead to 2017, farmers noticed a move away from the higher prices of previous seasons.

“We did see soybeans go higher than what anybody thought they might go and that was due to dry weather in South America,” Merrill Crowley of Crowley Commodities told The Central Illinois Farm Network on Wednesday.

Corn prices failed to make any big moves in the past year, although things could turn around for corn if the expected planted soybean acreage comes to fruition. Crowley believes farmers should be asking themselves what will keep them farming currently. We are in a time where base hits are needed versus home runs.

“If you don’t have (a marketing plan) in place, the next thing you know the market has peaked and you’re back to square one trying to hope that the market will rally again.”

Cycle lows are due in 2017 and there are plenty of corn and soybean stocks on hand. If the weather does not pose a growing problem, the likelihood of higher prices is just not there. Crowley won’t rule out some surprises along the way but he is especially concerned over soybean prices.

“You kind of want to leave yourself in a situation where it’s a little bit open ended,” Crowley added.

In addition to the weather, market factors to watch include political unrest, ethanol and economic conditions around the world. A trade war with China would not be good and South America making ethanol out of sugar could be negative for U.S. farmers as well. We have been moving quite a bit of ethanol to Brazil due to higher sugar prices which are now coming down. There is also the possibility of more ethanol going to China.

According to Crowley, a lot of things out there could hurt or help market prices throughout 2017. Crowley Commodities is located in Watseka and can be reached at 815-432-2220.

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