Focus on Agriculture: Corn, soybean prices increase under updated FAPRI outlook

Posted: Sep. 8, 2011 9:25 am Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 2:17 pm

Tight crop supplies and record farm prices dominate a midyear baseline update from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri.

"Drought, floods and changing economics raise the outlook for many agricultural commodities," MU FAPRI Director Pat Westhoff said.

Wet conditions and floods delayed and prevented plantings across the Corn Belt and Northern Plains. Droughts across the south and other areas added to the factors changing the outlook.

In the FAPRI baseline, corn prices increase on average from $5.25 per bushel to $6.46 for the 2011-12 crop to be harvested this fall. Likewise, soybeans rise from a projected $11.25 this year to $13.53 per bushel.

The baseline starts from the USDA August estimates of 2011 crop production, with short crops contributing to higher feed costs.

"Higher feed prices contributed to slower growth in livestock production, higher meat prices and a decline in domestic per capita meat consumption since 2007. However, consumer demand improved for beef and pork, particularly in international markets. Poultry producers remain in a difficult situation," Westhoff said. "If consumer demand improves as expected during the next couple of years, beef and pork producers should endure higher input costs without further downsizing of herds."

Other highlights in the FAPRI update include:

º Consumers will see increasing meat prices into 2012.

º Beef supplies will remain low as the cow herd rebuilds.

º Dairy numbers remain steady at 9.1 million cows until dropping to 9 million in 2014.

º The average all-milk price, projected at $20.10 in 2011, eases to $19.47 by 2016.

The complete baseline update is available online at

Corn root damage

Severe root damage observed in Bt corn in northwestern Illinois should alert growers to carefully consider 2012 seed selection choices.

The fields were in continuous corn for many years, and the producers had relied upon Bt hybrids that expressed the Cry3Bb1 protein as their primary protection against western corn rootworm injury. Lodged plants were common, with rootworm adults were numerous and easy to collect, and plants had two or three nodes of roots completely destroyed. Similar problems were reported in Iowa fields.

"Unfortunately, yield losses will be significant in these fields," said University of Illinois Extension entomologist Mike Gray.

"I urge you to be very cautious in your choice of hybrids offering corn rootworm protection in light of these developments in Iowa and northwestern Illinois. Many producers have utilized a single-tactic approach for too many years, and now unfortunately consequences are beginning to emerge."

Producers who encountered less than satisfactory root protection in 2011 with a Bt hybrid should consider for 2012:

º Rotation to soybeans or another non-host crop.

º The use of a corn rootworm soil insecticide at planting.

º Use of a Bt hybrid that expresses a different corn rootworm Cry protein than one which may have performed poorly in 2011.

º Use of a pyramided Bt hybrid that expresses multiple Cry proteins targeted against corn rootworms.

º A long-term integrated approach to corn rootworm management that includes multiple tactics such as adult suppression programs and crop rotation.

-- Compiled by Herald-Whig Staff Writer Deborah Gertz Husar.




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