Corn prices fall after USDA planting report

Alan Roelofs drives a corn planter in a field near his southwest Minnesota farm two miles southwest of Tyler, Minn., in a file photo from May 9, 2013. Roelofs said despite the late start, he's still optimistic about this year's crop.
MPR Photo/Mark Steil

Corn prices fell after the U.S. Agriculture Department indicated farmers have planted more acres nationwide than estimated earlier.

Farmers have planted more than 97 million acres of corn, the most in more than 75 years. The prospect of a huge harvest drove corn prices down nearly 5 percent after the report was released Friday.

Commodity trader Greg Goebel said one bright spot in the corn market is that a big harvest will help U.S. farmers sell more corn overseas.

"We had a lot of people talking about our lower grain exports this year," Goebel said. "But the reason they were so low is that we did not have any extra grain to export to foreign countries -- which may increase next year, probably helping to support our prices."

Minnesota farmers may be facing a double whammy. First, wet weather reduced the corn acreage planted in the state. The USDA says state farmers have planted about 8.7 million acres of corn, about 3 percent less than the department estimated earlier.

Many parts of the state have had too much rain. Some fields have been too muddy the past two months to support heavy farm equipment.

And second, lower prices and a smaller harvest may mean farmers pull in much less income than last year when high prices and a decent harvest produced a banner year.

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