Virus, weather dominate discussion


BLOOMINGTON – The coronavirus and weather took center stage during the annual Central Illinois Farm Network Ag Outlook Meeting held Thursday evening at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington.

As long as panic exists, the market is going to be volatile, according to Merrill Crowley with Midwest Market Solutions in Watseka. Crowley said something that doesn’t get reported is the number of individuals who have recovered from the virus.

“We don’t hear about that at all.”

Crowley believes we really should start seeing some type of reduction in the spread right about now.

“Perception is a bigger market factor than reality sometimes,” said Ellen Dearden of AgReview in Morton.

Dearden considers the virus a “psychological problem” for the markets and sees some leveling off. Dearden feels there is still time to work through the frenzy as the market hype is much greater than anything we have seen in a very long time.

Dale Durchholz, retired analyst from AgriVisor and current commodity consultant with Grain Cycles, noted COVID-19 is a different strain of the typical flu. He urged everyone to keep a close eye on the situation as the number of new cases could start to fade with warmer weather if this is anything like the regular flu.

Dearden said we need to have the stock market shift higher before commodities can.

If we once again see a lag in planting progress this spring due to wet weather, sensitivity will be high due to the previous late season, in Durchholz’s opinion.

“Keep an eye on the weather and soil moisture,” Durchholz suggested.

Last year, there were 19.6 million acres in prevent plant and not all of that land will come back into production as North Dakota could still have plenty of unplanted acres much like 2011. The mid-south is wet now and the end of their corn planting is typically the middle of March.

“We may end up with fewer corn acres,” Dearden explained.

Crowley said there are plenty of basis contracts out there which could continue to haunt us unless there is a decent price rally. There is very little farmer selling due to the prices. Dearden noted the continued fragile market as any bearish news sends things lower.

Thursday’s CIFN Ag Outlook in Bloomington was co-sponsored by First Farmers State Bank, Prairie Central Cooperative and the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.

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