Fog/Mist
54°FFog/MistFull Forecast

Falling prices could mean less corn in Illinois

Published: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 6:04 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP file photo)
Falling corn prices and questions about ethanol demand could lead Illinois farmers to plant fewer acres of corn this year and instead are taking a closer look at soybeans this year.
Caption
(AP file photo)
Falling corn prices and questions about ethanol demand could lead Illinois farmers to plant fewer acres of corn this year and instead are taking a closer look at soybeans this year.
Caption
(Seth Perlman)
Falling corn prices and questions about ethanol demand could lead Illinois farmers to plant fewer acres of corn in 2014 and instead are taking a closer look at soybeans this year.

PEORIA – Falling corn prices and questions about ethanol demand could lead Illinois farmers to plant fewer acres of corn this year.

Instead, farmers are likely to use some of that acreage to plant soybeans, said Patrick Kirchhofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau.

The shift comes after several years of increasing corn production fueled by higher prices. Nationwide, analysts have called last year’s crop a record-breaker, at more than 14 billion bushels. But the excess corn has pushed prices down from $8 a bushel in 2012 to about $4.

At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed reducing the amount of ethanol required to be blended into the nation’s fuel, which could weaken demand for corn. The corn-based fuel currently uses up to 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop.

Farmer Ross Pauli of Edwards said he was worried that the EPA proposal, if approved, would hurt the farm economy. He’s urging other farmers to share their views with lawmakers.

“It’s a case of bad timing,” he told the Peoria Journal Star. “Now when we have excess corn and all these [ethanol] plants built, they want to cut back on production.”

Still, Pauli is also planning to plant less corn this year on his 650 acres.

“I will still plant more corn than soybeans but the percentage will be 60 percent corn to 40 percent soybeans,” he said. “Last year it was probably about 65 percent corn.”

Soybean prices have also dipped, but to a lesser extent than corn.

University of Illinois economist Darrel Good doesn’t anticipate a huge shift in the crops.

“I do expect some cutback of corn acres and I think we’ll see a tick up in soybean acres but, at this point, I look for a fairly minor adjustment,” he told the Journal Star.

Get breaking and town-specific news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the Northwest Herald.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Reader Poll

Do you agree with the County Board's decision to turn away state funding that could have been used to help the uninsured?
Yes
No