Skip to main content

Navigating Agricultural Markets in Uncertain Times

Computer showing graphs

Over the past couple of weeks, stock and commodity agriculture markets have been struggling.

We are currently in a flash recession, according to University of Illinois Agricultural Economists Todd Hubbs and Scott Irwin. The good news is it should end relatively quickly.

They recommend a “wait-and-see” attitude on marketing old crop, with the hope that May and June will be a time of recovery. As far as new crop sales, as always: have a marketing plan, know your cost for production. Whenever the market is above your production costs, then make or add to your sales.

In the good news department, China has increased its purchases under phase one of the trade agreement, which has helped soybeans rally and is starting to help corn. The only downside for corn is the ethanol market. With many people practicing social distancing or sheltering at home, ethanol gas consumption is at record low numbers. This is worrisome, but U of I economists project that the livestock industry will shift to using grain corn instead of dried distillers' grains, DDGs, to feed cattle and hogs.

FarmDoc Webinars

To help farmers navigate the markets during these uncertain times, University of Illinois Agriculture Economists are hosting regular webinar updates, which are available to watch live or later on YouTube.


Want to get notified when new Acres of Knowledge posts are available? Sign up here!

Acres of Knowledge is a seasonal blog for Central Illinois farmers, ranchers and producers. University of Illinois Extension Local Foods Small Farms Educator Doug Gucker explores crop prices, planting and harvest trends, growing season updates, soil health topics and more. Build your best life. Trust Extension to help.

Doug Gucker is an Illinois Extension Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties in Central Illinois. He is a Certified Crop Advisor and works to help producers improve their profitability and sustainability with programs and feedback on farm management strategies, soil health, nutrient management, integrated pest management and grazing. Find Doug on Twitter at @SoilWaterDoug, by email at or call 217.877.6042. Subscribe to his podcast Out Standing in the Field wherever you listen to podcasts.