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Volatile markets & profit outlooks

  • 01

    A wild week for the grain markets and new outlooks for who much it will cost you to raise your 2012 crop highlight this week's big stories in agriculture.

  • 02

    There still is a lot of unharvested corn left standing in the field. Earlier this week, one estimate showed there could be up to 200 million bushels still standing in the field. And, that corn may have to stay in the field until spring.

  • 03

    The grain markets turned higher this week after an extended slide. That trend was fueled further by a move by world banks Wednesday to cut a key U.S. interest rate, making the U.S. Dollar cheaper. It added to the rally temporarily Wednesday, but some say it may not be what the trade needs for a sustained upward move.

  • 04

    "We are taking a little pause now from recent price weakness, and it's nice to see some gains in grains again after the recent price weakness," says market analyst Ray Grabanski. "But can they keep up the recent price strength? That's a question that will only be answered with time."

  • 06

    Though the grains have recovered in the last few days, the downturn of the last few weeks has caused a few adjustments to profit outlooks for the 2012 crop. And, that has a lot to do with the acreage balance for next year, too.

  • 07

    Part of the uncertainty in the grain markets the last few weeks has stemmed from the MF Global bankruptcy situation in which customer funds were allegedly commingled with investment money. Now, lawmakers have scheduled a hearing to see how the government can protect from similar situations in the future.

  • 08

    Even though projected crop income for 2012 has been trimmed, that doesn't mean there will be fewer acres planted next year. One economist says most signs right now point to more acres of both soybeans and corn next year.

  • 09

    Crop and livestock farmers have had a good year in 2011, though. USDA released new numbers this week that show U.S. net farm income is expected to rise by almost $22 billion this year. That's a 28% increase over 2010.

  • 10

    Even if you are a crop farmer seeing healthy profits lately, those profits could be on shaky footing if you've got a lot of land through cash rent. The more cash rented land you have now, the more you're subject to red ink, a report out this week shows.

The grain trade saw a reversal this week as many start looking ahead to the 2012 crop.

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