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Farmer juggling risks from volatile grain market and input costs

An Illinois farmer says it is difficult to keep track of all the factors pressuring the global grain markets.

Lance Panzer of Waltonville in southern Illinois tells Brownfield the war in Ukraine, drought in the western US and excess moisture in the eastern corn belt are just a few of the ones he is watching.

“My goodness. This year is definitely one of those years that you have to read and keep on track of everything that is going on because it can move the grain market a dollar in a day’s time.”

He says they have forward contracted one-third of their production for soybeans and corn.

“I’m uneasy doing any more than that right now, until we get something in the ground and see how we are doing.”

He says along with a volatile market, the price and availability of inputs like glyphosate are other risks farmers are trying to juggle.

“If you can find it you are going to pay three times more for it than you did last year, if you can find it at that price. Not to mention the added costs of potash, DAP and anhydrous.”

And while he hopes he is wrong; Panzer is expecting supplies to be even tighter next year.

“The big concern I have is it doesn’t seem like much of this is getting resolved, so I think next year will be an even bigger problem for most farmers.”

To mitigate risk on the input side, Panzer says they utilized an old fertilizer storage shed on their farm and stocked up on supplies last fall when prices were high, but still cheap compared to spring prices.

Interview with Lance Panzer

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