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Forecast not good for area farmers

By Dennis Minich

A group of about 100 farmers and business agriculture were present Tuesday for the 96th annual Cass County Soils and Crops Conference.

As per custom, the final presentation of the day was an agricultural commodity outlook and, like most of the presentations in recent years, the projections weren’t good.

The speaker, John Kruse, University of Missouri State Specialist in ag business and policy, told the group, “I wish I had better news for you.”

Last year, much of the concern at the conference focused on China and the trade war with the United States. This year, a new policy has been signed and while Kruse said he expected the markets to go up with the signing, the opposite occurred.

“The agreement says China will buy $32 billion in commodities in the next two years and they have agreed to buy up to another $5 billion per year, but the language of the agreement leaves questions,” Kruse said.

The signed deal uses the terms “commercial consideration” and “timing of purchases”, which might give them an out to buy from other countries.

“We won’t really know what the impact will be until the agreement is implemented,” said Kruse.

South American nations appear to be having a good growing season and their corn and soybeans will be hitting the international markets soon. Because of the increase in exports, primarily from Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine, American prices could suffer.

Kruse said projections are for corn to sell in the $3.70 per bushel range this year, down from a national average of $3.85 last year.

At last year’s conference, corn was projected to sell in the $3.25 to $3.95 range.

For soybeans, Kruse said some may sell in the $9.60 to $9.65 per bushel range, but likely won’t hit the $10 mark.

The average last year was around $8 locally.

Because of flooding in the state, wheat planting is down, but the current price is high, which Kruse said to be wary of. “The price of wheat is way out of sync with corn and when that happens, you normally see a big shift,” he said.

The conference was sponsored by the University of Missouri Extension Office and the Cass County Farm Bureau, and lunch was sponsored by Hawthorn Bank.

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