It always seems strange to use the last week or two of the current year as a platform for visualizing the year ahead. How does looking in the rearview mirror give anyone a clear idea of what to expect?
This was certainly the case for most agricultural markets a year ago. For example, hardly anyone last December saw their $ 4.50 corn futures soar to over $ 6 the following May or last year’s $ 11 Christmas soybeans soar to over $ 15 at Easter.
OK, maybe a few did, but I’d bet a well-drizzled fruit cake is even less believed.
This year’s mad, mad rush has – almost by default – set the stage for a more normal 2022. Our friends at farmdocDaily, the University of Illinois-based Land Grant Extension consortium, certainly think so. Their updated crop budgets for 2022 look sadly, if not ominously, more like something from the early 1980s than the 2020s.
The budgets, released on December 7, show the next crop year will play ends meet. For example, spending on corn per acre – 18 items ranging from “fertilizer” to “fuel and petroleum” – for “High productivity,” land in central Illinois will increase by nearly 20%, from $ 631 to $ 755 per acre.
The same murderous cost will also hit soybean producers; Input costs per acre will increase, researchers say, by 26% in 2022, from $ 377 to $ 476.
Meanwhile, average season prices for the two crops next year, according to the farmdocDaily team, will average $ 5 a bushel for corn and $ 12 a bushel for soybeans.
These historically strong prices, combined with near-record yields in central Illinois, mean these farmers – despite steep increases in input costs and slowly falling commodity prices – are expected to make around $ 61 per acre in corn and $ 67 per acre in soybeans.
Go north or south in the long state, however, and the picture – like Illinois soils – changes dramatically. In cooler, later northern Illinois, those per acre profits drop to $ 6 and $ 31 per acre, respectively, for corn and soybeans. In the thinner, wetter soils of southern Illinois, the benefits almost disappear: plus $ 7 for corn and plus $ 8 for soybeans.
By comparison, that makes 2021 a spectacular godsend. Highly productive farmers in central Illinois, again according to the Extension gang, who are putting together the numbers, pocketed about $ 378 an acre for corn and $ 305 for soybeans, five times more for each than that. estimated in 2022.
Wheat, however, will turn 2021 in 2022. Kansas City hard red winter wheat futures prices hover around $ 8, down from last month, but still the highest December price since years.
Equally important, will today’s high wheat prices cause farmers in the Northern Plains to abandon their ever-expanding corn and soybean empires for the good old wheat days?
Hold that thought – at least until next year – when the first glimpse of a possible answer arrives with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Planting Report on March 31.
This year, however, should not slip away without remembering Senator Robert Dole, the staunch Republican from Kansas, who eclipsed on December 5 at the age of 98. Dole, a true war hero, was a fixture on Capitol Hill from 1960 to 1996, when he stepped down. his safe and comfortable seat in the United States Senate to try the most dangerous and least comfortable thing there is: running for President.
He lost, and the nation lost something with him. Thereafter, the policy was different; they have become bloodier, more corrosive and more destructive.
After his death, part of the blame was placed on Dole, a fierce leader who had a fierce roar and a sharp bite. But, as he has proven time and time again, none of his flaws matched his benevolent heart and staunch integrity. His career has been built on alleviating hunger, alleviating poverty, healing disabilities and the hope of millions of people in the United States and abroad.
Let’s end this appalling year of bitter politics by remembering one of our best, Bob Dole, a wounded giant who always knelt to pick up the broken, the hungry and the poor.
The Farm and Food File is published weekly in the United States and Canada.