Important Farming Predictions for 2019
Since 1818, when the first annual issue was published, people have relied on the Farmers’ Almanac for everything from long-range weather predictions to home remedies and even recipes. Though the information contained within this helpful journal is still relevant even today, other experts around the world make predictions of their own. Here are five of the most important farming predictions for 2019 and how they might affect you.
#1 – Corn Prices will Slowly Rise
International demand continues to drive the cost of corn ever so slightly higher, and Chad Hart, a crop marketing specialist at Iowa University, predicts prices will hit about $3.90 a bushel for 2019’s harvest. Per Hart, the increases in livestock around the world are playing an important role in pushing corn demand forward. Much of the corn produced in the US (and several other companies) is grown specifically for livestock feed.
#2 – A Huge Increase in Soybean Stores
A mere two years ago, China imported most of the US soybean harvest, which meant very few soybeans found their way into storage facilities. However, due to retaliatory tariffs on American goods, China now imports about half a billion fewer bushels than it did back then. Even though 45% of that half-billion bushels goes to other countries, that still leaves another 55% – or about 275 million bushels – remains in storage, and this is likely to continue through 2019.
#3 – Trade Unpredictability
Due to the “trade wars” with countries like China and Mexico, farmers aren’t sure who their customers are anymore. Once upon a time, they could accurately predict which countries would buy specific crops and then tailor those crops to meet demand. At the start of 2019, the US exported half of its soybean harvest and 21% of its corn harvest, but depending on the state of global trade, that may change drastically between now and the end of the year. Farmers should continue to do their best to remain versatile in the face of trade instability.
#4 – Less Drought
Per the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Climate Prediction Center, the US Seasonal Drought Outlook through August is quite promising. The NWS expects no drought in California prior to this date, and drought in other parts of the country – including Arizona and New Mexico – will likely improve. However, some states, such as South Carolina, Virginia, and western Washington State will see persistent drought through summer. Farmers in these areas should consider utilizing soil amendments designed to help retain water and disperse it evenly as the crops need it.
#5 – Better Technology Reach and Affordability
According to AGDaily, 2019 will see more farmers than ever before reaching for new technologies designed to allow them to work more efficiently, which saves them a great deal of money and improves their harvests. New technologies that trap insects without the use of pesticides, send email notifications when automated feeding or irrigation fails, and even allow tractors to operate and drive themselves are becoming far more widespread – and affordable, too.
While it’s true that 2019 will not be without its trials and tribulations for farmers due to trade instability, there are plenty of other things to look forward to. New technologies, increasing corn prices, and less drought are all great signs that the US farming industry is on the road to recovery.