04/05/04 — Commodity prices rise

View Archive

Commodity prices rise

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on April 5, 2004 1:57 PM

Many agricultural commodities from the 2003 crop season are selling for much higher prices, according to state officials.

Sherry Warren with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture's market news said it is a volatile market, and prices are based on basic supply and demand.

There was a reduction in crop acreage in 2003 with more wet weather during the growing season. This reduced the amount of commodities available in the market and increased the demand, causing the prices to increase, she added.

The average prices for commodities sold in March 2004 compared to March 2003 are as follows:

*Soybeans -- $9.65 per bushel compared to $5.69 per bushel.

*Corn -- $3.29 per bushel compared to $2.76 per bushel.

*Wheat -- $3.43 per bushel compared to $2.71 per bushel.

*Sweet potatoes -- $16.50 per 40-pound carton compared to $14.50 per 40-pound carton.

*Cattle -- feeder steer, $110.76 per 100-pound weight compared to $90.25 per 100-pound weight; heifers, $101.81 per 100-pound weight compared to $78.83 per 100-pound weight.

*Swine -- $64.12 per 100-pound weight compared to $47.33 per 100-pound weight.

These prices reflect the latest statistics from the market, and it is hard to say what will happen from this point, said Ms. Warren.

Thomas Uzzell has a farm in the Seven Springs area and sold five cows Thursday at Powell Livestock Market in Smithfield. He sold them for an average of $60 to $70 more for each cow than he thought he would.

They were sold for between 42 and 46 cents per pound, which was up from 38 and 40 cents per pound this time last year. He believes that the prices have gone back up because the mad cow disease situation in the northwestern United States has subsided.

"I'm well pleased with all of the markets right now," added Uzzell.

Some farmers waited to sell their crops in the spring in the hopes that the prices would go up in the off-season.

Agriculture Extension Agent Bob Pleasants said he knew one farmer who waited to sell his soybeans and received $10 per bushel. That's almost double last year's price. He sold about 5,000 bushels.

These prices could go back down if there is a better growing season this year, which is expected.

The N.C. Agriculture Statistics released crop planting intentions for the 2004 season. Farmers are expected to plant 1.5 million acres, which is an increase of 50,000 from last year. This would be the largest acreage planted in the state since 1989.

Corn is expected to total 760,000 acres, which is up 20,000 acres, and sweet potatoes are expected to total 44,000 acres, which is up 1,000 acres.