Uncertainty of Coronavirus impacts soybean prices


CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — The latest challenge hitting farmers across the state is the outbreak of the Wuhan Coronavirus. Forbes reports the economy in China has plummetted as millions of Chinese are concerned about the food they’re consuming.

With soybeans being one of Illinois’ major exports and one of China’s most consumed products the halt in demand is dropping the price of the crop per bushel.

It has impacted soybean prices in the short term just because of the uncertainty. I mean, we do not know where this virus is headed and how much it’s going to impact the livestock population, the people eating the meat, and so that’s something we’re definitley concerned about.

Patrick Kirchhofer, Manager | Peoria County Farm Bureau

Forbes is also reporting that the Chinese are battling the African Swine Flu. Pork is a large chunk of their diet and soybeans not only feed humans, but also livestock. With about 30% to 40% of the swine population dead it’s another factor is lower soybean prices.

In December, soybeans prices were over $9.00 a bushel. In the past three to four weeks, the price has come down for soybeans around 5-10% because of the uncertainty in the market right now. It does not take long for a hog population to repopulate. It takes three months, three weeks, and three days is the gestation period. So, [swine] can repopulate fairly quickly and that demand for soybeans could improve rather quicky too.

Patrick Kirchhofer, Manager | Peoria County Farm Bureau

Kirchhofer also said the uncertainty can last as long as questions surrounding the coronavirus go unanswered. He continued by saying most local farmers already have their 2020 planting season pegged with which crop to plant.

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