Corn is no longer king on Todd Wachtel’s 5,500-acre farm in Illinois. After prices fell to a three-year low in January, he will cut planting by 20 percent in 2014 and devote half his land to soybeans, which are cheaper to grow and just as profitable for the first time in four years.
Grain and oilseed prices rose the most allowed by the Chicago Board of Trade after the U.S. government said supplies will be smaller than forecast last month, increasing the cost of producing food and fuel.
Surging supplies of U.S. corn and soybeans coupled with higher revenue for specialty crops will boost farm incomes to a record this year even after grain prices fell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Foreign food companies, banks and makers of fertilizer and chemicals will boost investment in U.S. agriculture as economic growth spurs demand, said an economist at Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. lender to farmers.
Bill Donald, the third-generation owner of Cayuse Livestock Co., sold the calves he raised early last summer and cut purchases of cattle after pastures dried up. The herd grazing his land now is about 85 percent of normal.