Illinois farmers are experiencing a tough sales year despite an early and strong harvest season.
Because overseas markets like China are not buying crops based on the trade tariffs that have been put in place by the U.S., market prices are low and backlogged.
“Whenever you have a great big crop like this, you will have the effect of ‘basis widening,’ which means your local cash market prices decrease compared to what they are on the Chicago Board of Trade,” said Mike Doherty, senior economist and policy analyst for the Government Affairs and Commodities Division of the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Farmers with high crop yields are looking for alternative ways to store their healthy harvest until the market loosens and crop prices return. These storage options may be wrought with even more problems for farmers.
“Some of the farmers are even talking about using the plastic bags for temporary storage like they do down in South America, which is not ideal,” Doherty said. “It is not the best way to store grain because it degrades through weather and insect damage.”
While there are benefits to a strong harvest, farmers in the state are concerned about how they will financially survive the season or long-term.
“All the farmers are extremely concerned about how they are going to fair financially,” said Doherty. “This is year five of low prices.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Illinois had an estimated 85 percent of corn mature by Sept. 23 and 75 percent of soybeans ripen by the same date. This is compared to 54 and 53 percent last year at the same time, respectively.
Large amounts of rain and hot temperatures contributed to the early and healthy harvest year in Illinois and throughout the U.S.