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Fearless Forecasts for 2014

by Mike Austin

Although they may not be any more accurate than using that "Magic 8 Ball" from out of the 70's... it seems we always keep an eye out for price projection for the upcoming year. Now some like the University of Wisconsin and UW Extension don't share their projections until mid January of the new year, several organizations and institutions have already made their new year predictions although several are just giving forecasts out through the first 6 months of the year.

As for the USDA ,their official Outlook Conference will come after the first of the year, but still their Outlook Board has called for an all milk price to average above $20.10 in 2014. And although he understands the logic, Robin Schmahl of Ag Dairy feels production in 2014 may be too strong to support that price

Many private forecasters agree in their year end report that Class 3 prices will be more in that $17.00- $18.00 dollar a hundredweight range. The market also seems more pessimistic about grain and soybean prices saying corn could be down to $4.00-$4.10 a bushel by years end and that soybeans could slide to just $10.70 a bushel by 2014's final quarter. 
Now the USDA's Outlook Board still has corn pricing from 4.25-$4.40 for the year and soybeans ranging from $12.50 to perhaps $13.00 a bushel. However Ag economist like Daryl Goode really don't see anything outside of a weather market ... that would bring about a corn or bean rally.
As for other price forecast in 2014. It looks like both price and margins will be better for beef, and poultry producers and relatively flat for hogs. And on the legislative front the new year should,and the key term is should... bring a new long term farm bill and funding for the locks and dams system. On all other key issues... we'll have to wait and see what actions Congress may or may not take prior to a mid term election year to see what actions they will take.