Soybean prices a concern for farmers

Published: Oct. 5, 2018 at 6:16 PM CDT
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Farmers in the middle of harvest season are struggling with wet and rainy conditions, but that's not all they have to worry about.

This summer they were concerned about the soybean harvest because of the hot, dry weather. But, the USDA is reporting a record crop. So now, the worry is over what prices will be.

It might be a good crop, but now try getting it out of the ground. Clark Coleman says he planted about 1,500 acres, and about two-thirds of that is harvested.

“I'm in trouble, if we can't get these off, this is a zero, this is a complete disaster,” farmer Clark Coleman said. “So the snow on these soybeans that I don't have harvested is a serious thing.”

And it's not his only worry this year. He had some soybeans contracted at harvest time at about $9.50 to $10, but says when he dropped some extra bushels off at the elevator, the price had dropped by about $3.

“I mean it's devastating, it really is,” Coleman said.

Commodity broker Dennis Wang says a price drop happens every year, and it's to be expected this year because the USDA is forecasting a record 438 million bushels of soybeans.

"That's 135 million over last year, so of course they were going to drop anyway,” Wang said. “But I think the good news for producers is that China's going to come back to the table in a big way, they have nowhere else to go."

But Coleman is concerned that won't happen.

“They're not going to come back to the United States for soybeans unless they absolutely have to,” Coleman said. “If Brazil and Argentina and some of these other countries can take care of them, we're on the sidelines this is going to affect our market for many, many years to come.”

Wang says he expects prices should come back up in the next few months, and farmers should expect a nice Christmas present.

The USDA's most recent crop report says last week there were just over four days suitable for work, and only about 30 percent of the soybeans have been harvested. But that's ahead of last year at this time, when it was only 17 percent.

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