Trent Brandenburg makes a safe prediction for 2012 as he reflects on 2011. Trent is finishing his year-end bookkeeping and tax work, and hauling grain for January delivery as muddy conditions permit. Trent is happy for the rain, because the ground is not yet frozen, so the rain will soak into the soil and not run off as it would if the soil were frozen. Thus the groundwater supply will be recharged after the very dry late summer.
Trent said 2011 contrasted the wet spring with a severely dry late summer. The drought during corn pollination kept yields at the average level, but very strong market prices supported good financial returns overall. Trent sees 2012 being a challenge as market prices trend lower and farm input costs–seed, fuel, and crop protection chemicals–“are quite a bit higher.” The probability of volatile market prices next year will require careful attention to marketing strategies and the timing of 2012 crop sales.