- freeimages.com/rsvstksFluctuating weather and markets bounced farmers and ranchers around in 2014.
Fluctuating weather and markets bounced farmers and ranchers around in 2014.
The year started with a meager winter wheat harvest, but spring rains paved the way for a record corn harvest and strong soybean and sorghum yields. Cattle producers saw high livestock prices and low feed costs.
"On the livestock side it was very, very good because of high prices. On the crop side, we certainly had lower prices," said Dan O'Brien, a Kansas State University extension specialist.
In the Midwest U.S., fall and summer rains led to the strong corn, soybean and sorghum harvests, but grain prices tumbled to much lower levels than previously forecast. Corn prices fell 40 percent before recovering and are now down 24 percent for the year. Other fall crop prices are barely above the break-even point.
"The challenge is, 'Do people still own the wheat or did they let it go at lower prices?'" O'Brien said. The average break-even price of wheat in Kansas was $5.46 per bushel, but with the recent rally, it's selling at around $6.63, he said.
The weather outlook for January through March 2015 calls for wetter-than-normal conditions in the Midwest.
"It's not as pronounced, but it's not cured," O'Brien said. "It is premature to say we are out of the drought."