This year, ending corn stocks are the lowest they’ve been since the 1996/1997 growing season. Soybeans are at their lowest since the mid-1980s. That makes the feed supply tight, which means pork producers will have to pay higher prices for corn and bean meal.

Expectations for the new year’s crop won’t help ease the price pressures on pork producers.

“Right now nobody is expecting much better than trend-line yields, which (nationally) is about 39 to 40 bushels per acre for soybeans and 141 to 142 bushels per acre for corn,” says Brees.

With trend-line yields, Bob Wisner, Iowa State University agricultural economist, would expect corn to average about $2.30 per bushel, with soybean meal averaging $159 a ton. If yields were to improve to 144 bushels an acre for corn, and 41 bushels for soybeans, Wisner would expect corn prices to be about $2.15 per bushel, with meal around $151 per ton.

Supplies will likely remain tight, causing higher prices for corn and bean meal than pork producers have seen in the past few years. Here are corn, soybean and soybean ending stocks and the average prices for recent crop years.



Corn

Crop Year

End Stocks

Price

(in billion bushels)

(per bushel)

1999-2000

1.718

$1.94

2000-2001

1.899

$1.85

2001-2002

1.59

$1.97

2002-2003

1.086

$2.32

2003-2004

0.988

$2.31

Soybeans

Crop Year

End Stocks

Price

 

(in million bushels)

(per bushel)

1999-2000

290

$4.63

2000-2001

248

$4.54

2001-2002

208

$4.38

2002-2003

178

$5.53

2003-2004

124

$7.24

Soybean Meal

Crop Year

End Stocks

Price

(in thousand tons)

(per ton)

2001-2002

240

$167.73

2002-2003

220

$181.57

2003-2004

200

$235.00 (estimated)

Source: Melvin Brees, University of Missouri agricultural economist