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Grain markets shift focus for the new year

Grain markets shift focus for the new year

Grain Corn Soy Wheat composite

As the calendar turns to 2022, the grain market also starts to shift gears with attention moving from the 2021 crop to the 2022 crop and from the North American crop to the South American crop.

There is also always a conversation about whether Midwestern farmers will shift any acres from corn to beans, and that conversation could be a little more pronounced this time around because of the high input costs for the 2022 crop. But Karl Setzer isn’t holding his breath waiting for farmers to switch crops.

“In the heart of the Corn Belt, corn is king,” says Setzer, an analyst with Agrivisor.

There will be discussions about changing planting plans in fringe areas such as North Dakota, but that won’t have a huge impact on the production numbers, Setzer says, pointing out that North Dakota and other fringe areas offer more acres than actual production.

The bigger item for farmers right now, he says, is to look at the big picture and to separate the 2021 and 2022 crops in their heads.

The fact is that the 2021 crop was a good crop with good prices. Farmers made money. The market is telling farmers to sell grain. And he says those farmers really need to look at local cash prices, rather than futures or basis numbers when it comes to that 2021 crop. Local cash prices are good right now. There are reasons to market corn and beans.

The 2022 crop is a little more challenging because prices are good, but input costs are also looking to be very high and all of that makes determining a bottom line difficult.

The key, Setzer says, is to separate the two. Don’t let high input costs for 2022 change your view or your marketing plan for the 2021 crop. Instead, consider taking advantage of good prices to market a small amount of 2022 grain. This might be a year for a plan that includes setting a floor under some bushels while leaving the door open for the chance of higher prices.

Either way, Setzer says to keep the big picture in mind.

“Don’t step over dollars to pick up dimes,” he says.

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Gene Lucht is public affairs editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.

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