High corn prices pinch livestock business

Maryland Watch

July 06, 1996

Recent high corn prices have been a boon for grain farmers in Carroll County, where corn is the top agricultural crop, but troublesome to livestock producers.

Farmers in central Maryland last month earned an average $5.23 per bushel of grain corn, according to statistics issued by the state Department of Agriculture. That compares with an average of $2.89 a bushel in June last year and $3.06 a bushel in June 1994.

"I hope it stays that way," said Lou Fisher, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat near Eldersburg.

But the high corn prices are cutting into the profits of livestock producers.

"It's definitely causing a profit problem," said Frank Feeser, who raises beef cattle and hogs near Taneytown.

Prices were about 73 cents a pound for steers last year, said Andy Schneider, who raises cattle in Sykesville. In recent months, the price has dropped to 59 cents a pound.

Droughts in the Midwest have forced producers there to sell off livestock, causing an oversupply in the market, the farmers said.

"Once the snowball gets bigger and bigger, it rolls downhill," Schneider said.

Pub Date: 7/06/96

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