American farmers are price shopping...as sellers;
Faced with the lowest corn prices in more than three years, many U.S. farmers are stashing away their grain in a bet on a rebound.
The strategy is sending ripples through the corn belt—affecting everyone from grain buyers to storage-bin makers—and tempering the price declines in the $27 billion corn-futures market.
By hoarding freshly harvested supplies, farmers are forcing livestock producers, ethanol companies and food makers to pay a premium over futures in some areas to secure corn, helping to buoy prices during what is expected to be a record U.S. harvest, traders and analysts say. But they warn the move could backfire on farmers in coming months if rival producers—such as growers in South America—generate big crops or demand for corn falls.So, where are the consumer rights groups decrying the heartlessness of the cornmen? Or the profiteers who make
Farmers store corn in weather-resistant, galvanized-steel structures that can top $100,000 each.Keeping food away from the masses, in the hope of profiting later, is good business? Maybe not;
The increased storage has been a boon for makers of the circular metal bins. Sales volumes in the industry may increase 6% this year and 5% in 2014, estimates Tom Welke, president of Assumption, Ill.-based GSI Group, a unit of Agco Corp. AGCO +0.61% and the world's largest maker of grain bins. Agco's stock price has jumped 23% this year.
However, storing corn for too long "definitely" poses risks for farmers, says Scott Stoller, a grain merchandiser at agricultural-advisory firm AgPerspective Inc. in Dixon, Ill.
Among them: Placing corn in storage for more than a year can lead to rot and lower quality, reducing the amount buyers will pay for the grain. "Grain spoilage would be your No. 2 risk behind prices falling, and it looms just as large," Mr. Stoller says.Yes, there is that little matter or risk...and who willingly takes it. No one can know how it will turn out, but markets provide a way to facilitate getting the food, eventually, to the consumers, through decentralized decision making. Has anyone thought of a better way, yet?
Imagine if the Federal govt. decreed, from above, what the price should be, and when and to whom the supplies should go. Oh, wait....
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