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Need Strong Usage, export Markets

Amanda Huber, Editor

This was another year of record crop production in corn. But as usual, a big crop means that producers can expect lower prices the next year. That is the message from ag economists across the country, including Clemson agricultural economists Nathan Smith and Scott Mickey.

At the recent 2018 Ag Outlook Conference, Smith said, “Prices have dropped because of a large U.S. crop, so it’s going to be competitive in 2018. December futures slid from trading as high as $4.14 in July to $3.37 on Nov. 28.”

But it wasn’t just corn raking in good numbers. Other crops from cotton to peanuts also had bin-busting harvests.

“The soybean crop was a great crop for producers,” Mickey said. South Carolina is projected to have a record yield at 37 bushels per acre, and the crop for the entire United States also is a record at a total of 90,207,000 acres of soybeans planted and another near-record yield of 49.5 bushels per acre is projected.

“Cotton producers looking for pricing opportunities in 2018 will have to closely watch the markets and budget more closely,” Smith said. “What is encouraging for cotton producers is cotton use is up and we have strong exports. Hopefully the lower prices will encourage more exports and more use.”

Unfortunately, in 2017, prices were not as good as producers had hoped for, Smith said, and it is not looking better for most crops in 2018 unless something changes.