2017 marked another year of grain surpluses, with near-record global harvests of corn, soybeans, and wheat. Many U.S. farmers saw hearty harvests this year but were disappointed with low prices that ensued.
Fearing that the trend will continue, producers are needing to make a careful plan for next year, managing costs and price risks as they prepare to plant in the spring. For many, the futures and options markets are a vital tool to pre-sell their crop or lock in breakeven levels to allow their operations to weather potential low prices again in 2018.
For livestock producers, the continued low grain prices have been helpful to keep feed prices manageable, allowing them to expand their herds in 2017. As of midday Friday, corn traded for $3.50, while wheat fetched $4.25, and soybeans stood at $9.60 per bushel.