Harvesting will begin in Iowa soon on what some believe will be the nation’s largest-ever corn crop, but prices are still in the basement for the third straight year.
On the plus side, agricultural exports for corn are picking up, according to U.S.D.A. ag economist Bryce Cooke. For Iowa’s other top crop, soybeans, Cooke says national exports for June came in at $432 million.
“Compared with almost $1.2 billion in soybean exports in July, which is a 170% increase,” Cooke says. “That’s not necessarily a usual thing at this time of year. That, in part, is because Brazil had a bad year for production and the U.S. has, by and large, had a better year.” Overall, Cooke says July’s total export value came in at $10.6 billion, led by a jump in soybean sales.
He says the picture isn’t nearly as bright when comparing the value of the two commodities to the numbers from 2015. “The value of corn is down 5% and the value of soybeans is down 15%,” he says. Cooke also looked at volume, which is starting to show signs of slipping.
“The volumes are relatively stable,” Cooke says. “The volume of corn exports is down 1% and the value of soybean exports are also down 1%.” Total U.S. exports are down 11 percent compared to a year ago. Due to the low commodities prices and rising input costs, some Iowa farmers may face spending more than they earn this year.