Corn prices make for uncertain future - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Corn prices make for uncertain future

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ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Brad Nelson's crop in Albert Lea is snow covered now, and as far as you can see the picture is a white, blank canvas.  One that may paint an ugly picture for 2014.

"It depends on the weather," Nelson said.  "The weather this summer will be a big factor in what the price does going forward."

In 2012, weather was the main factor in corn prices.  A huge drought in the Midwest devastated corn production.  When there is less supply and more demand the price goes up. With Minnesota less impacted by the drought, the state's higher corn production and over $6.50 sale price made for the perfect situation.

"In this game you're gonna have turns at having a good crop and turns at having a poor crop," Nelson said.  "You just got to take advantage of your opportunities when they come, and tighten up your belt when the bad times are here."

Unfortunately, those times have arrived.  A national surplus has plummeted the average price of corn to $4.20 in Minnesota.  Eleven cents less than the national average and more than two dollars less than 2012.  A downside that has forced Nelson to make some unwanted changes.

"Just gotta conserve on money and not going out for lunch and dinner like we used to or normally do.  Just spending money like I would normally do.  Whether that all helps remains to be seen," Nelson said.

Despite the downsides there is not much Nelson can do.  He grows a rotation of 60/40 corn to beans.  A plan he looks to roll with no matter how hard the punches come in 2014.

"You get a program that works and you just kind of stick with it for the most part," Nelson said.

For many farmers the outlook for 2014 is much like their equipment -- cold and at a standstill.

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