It might not be wrapped with a bow, but many area farmers received a Christmas surprise of a different kind this year.

Since wheat harvest began in June, prices for most of the state’s most commonly grown crops have continued to climb through the last two quarters of 2010, reaching levels not seen since July 2008.


It might not be wrapped with a bow, but many area farmers received a Christmas surprise of a different kind this year.
Since wheat harvest began in June, prices for most of the state’s most commonly grown crops have continued to climb through the last two quarters of 2010, reaching levels not seen since July 2008.
Markets closed Tuesday with yearly record highs, something few market forecasters did not predict at the start of the year.
This year alone, soybeans prices have jumped more than 33 percent while corn prices have nearly doubled that number, climbing 57 percent in 2010, leaving many producers with larger-than expected profits on stored grains and an opportunity to lock in profits for the 2011 growing season.
Larry Goerzen with Team Marketing Alliance in Moundridge said outside economies have had much to do with the price run-ups that started with wheat in early July and have continued for all of the state’s major crops including wheat, corn, soybeans and grain sorghum.
Following a short spat of activity in the commodities market at the start of January, markets remained relatively calm through the first half of the year Goerzen said.
But, news that Russia was suspending its wheat exports due to drought and fires pushed the wheat markets into a hurried climbed on fears of  grain shortages.
Goerzen said few predicted Russia’s announcement and consequently, many producers were left with little grain to sell following harvest. New concerns of bad crops in Australia- where rains have hurting milling qualities- and continued dry weather is much of the central plains- have kept wheat prices high Goerzen said.
Soybeans followed the spike in wheat prices as Chinese demand continued to ensure buyers for America’s crop.
On-going drought in Argentina, one of the world’s largest soybean producers, added to analysts fears of a shrinking world crop and helped keep prices climbing.
The rise in wheat prices through the fall months lead to more wheat acres being planted for summer 2011 harvest. The price increase came as insurance rates were settled, which allowed producers to lock in at least a small profit.
Goerzen said rally on prices for all commodities have been aided by other factors including a weakening dollar- which historically boosts imports and fear of poorer-than expected crops in other countries.
But 2011 isn’t expected to cure the market’s volatile tendencies. Devin Schierling, grain marketing manager for Team Marketing Alliance, said he expects to see a continued increase in market volatility, due in large part to severe weather, worldwide, and a growing international demand for grain.
Today’s technology allows news to travel faster than ever Schierling said, which means producers, and markets, react quicker and more volatile than ever. More producers have taken advantage of the climbing futures prices and improving market conditions by forward contracting grain, fertilizer and fuel. But as prices continue to climb, more producers have become more indecisive about securing grain contracts, fearing they will miss another big gain in the market.