Washington (AP) – Farmers are getting the best price for corn in more than a decade amid strong demand for ethanol and feed, the Agriculture Department reported Monday.
Average corn prices for the year were forecast at $2.90 to $3.30 a bushel, up 10 cents from last month’s estimate, according to the monthly crop report.
The last time prices were as good was 1995, when the average was $3.25 a bushel. This year is the fifth time corn prices have risen above $3 a bushel. Last year’s average was $2 a bushel.
The production forecast was unchanged at 10.7 billion bushels of corn, down from last year’s 11.1 billion bushels. The nation’s ethanol fuel plants are expected to use about 20 percent of the corn crop, and exports should consume roughly the same share.
Analysts also left the forecast unchanged for soybean production, predicting 3.2 billion bushels, up from about 3 billion bushels last year.
The price forecast for soybeans rose to $5.70 to $6.50 a bushel, up from last month’s estimate of $5.40 to $6.40 a bushel. Last year’s price was $5.66 a bushel. Roughly 35 percent of the crop is expected to be exported to foreign markets.
Export demand has softened, however, for beef and poultry, the department said. Analysts lowered the export forecast for beef amid problems with shipments to South Korea and for chicken amid slower-than-expected sales.