Corn and soybean meal prices look to be up from last year’s levels, so feed costs will likely go up at the same time pork prices are falling.

Bob Wisner, Iowa State University ag economist, expects corn prices to average $2.15-$2.20 per bushel, up from the $1.95 per bushel average for last year. Soybean meal is expected average $198 per ton for 48 percent meal, which is up from $180 per ton last year.

The corn carryover is projected to be 1.57 billion bushels, which is down from 1.9 billion bushels on Aug. 31, 2001, says Wisner. That’s about an eight-week supply, and about a four-week supply is necessary.

The current crop is not faring as well as recent crops that have fetched near-record yields.

“This year’s crop is deteriorated,” says Wisner. “The top major corn-producing states (top 11 states, accounting for 80-85 percent of U.S. corn production) have the lowest overall crop rating since the severe draught of 1988.”

Only 42 percent of this year’s crop is rated good to excellent, says Wisner. This compares to 59 percent of last year’s crop being rated good to excellent.

“There’s a clear indication that the crop will be less than ideal, across most of the Corn Belt,” says Wisner.

Wisner says the weather in August and September will be critical. If dry weather persists through much of the Corn Belt, prices of feed grains may climb higher than projections. So, pork producers may want to watch the weather and consider some pricing options, if the dry weather continues.