Guest Post: Ag Commodities And The Coming Inflation

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by TFMetalsreport

Ag Commodities And The Coming Inflation

Longtime readers will recall that we've had several conversations here
regarding the impact that the Fed's quantitative easing policy is having
on the costs of everyday food items. Soaring prices of agricultural
commodities are going to continue to have a devastating effect on the
purchasing power of average Americans and consumers around the globe.
Since prices have now recovered some from the selloffs after the
Japanese earthquake and tsunami and since there is no end in sight to
QE, I thought it was time to once again take a look at out favorite
commodities and assess where their prices may be headed over the spring
and summer.

Let's start with the grains because rising grain prices cause all sorts
of inflation. Not only are grains the raw input to countless consumer
goods, grains are also the primary foodstuff for cattle ranchers and hog
finishers as they prepare their herds for slaughter. Let's start with
wheat, which is being influenced not just by the falling dollar. Price
is also feeling the impact of the ongoing drought in the "winter wheat
zone" of the high plains of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Now take a look at the chart. Long-term support held at $7.50 and wheat looks almost certain to catapult higher very soon.

so how about corn? Corn is extremely important in food production as it
is used not only as a primary ingredient but as a sweetener, as well.
First, let's look at the chart. Support was found, as expected in the
area around $6.50. I have no doubt that corn will soon resume its upward
move along its primary trendline from last summer.

here's the deal with's expensive to grow! The primary
fertilizer that Midwestern corn farmers utilize is anhydrous ammonia.
Last year, anhydrous ammonia cost your average farmer about $425/ton.
This year, the cost has almost doubled to $750-800/ton. So, while it
might be tempting to seed a lot of acres with corn to capitalize on the
high price, the input and production costs are so high that many farmers
will choose to plant soybeans, instead. Less acres of corn planted lead
directly to less production. Less production leads directly to even
higher prices. (Remember that below when we get to cattle.)

So what about soybeans? Soybeans are the one grain that I don't expect
to rise in price. They will, most likely, stay rangebound through the
summer. Why? Besides the fertilizer costs affecting plantings, soybeans
get extra acreage for another reason: Weather. Because soybeans have a
shorter growing season, they are a "fall back plan" for many farmers who
struggled to get corn planted due to overly wet spring conditions.
If the upper Midwest spring turns out cool and wet, many farmers will
forego corn planting and turn, instead, to soybeans. Extra supply =
Lower cost.

Now, let's get back to corn. Have you ever heard the term "corn-fed
beef"? Most of the best steakhouses proudly champion corn-fed beef
because, frankly, its tastes a helluva lot better than grass-fed. The
high sugar content of the corn gets converted into fat. The fat makes
its way into the muscle and you, Mr. Steakeater, get yourself a
beautiful, marbled "prime" steak. Fat cows are also desirable at
slaughter because, well, they weigh more and cattle are sold by the
pound. OK, so now, pretend for a moment that you're a cattle rancher. As
your cattle are growing and being prepared for market (the term is
"finished"), you want to feed them as much corn as they'll eat and you
can afford. Corn at $7.00/bushel really cramps your business plan. Your
first reaction is to control costs by thinning your herd, i.e. you sell
some prematurely, before they are "finished". You might also simply want
to sell some of your herd to take advantage of today's high prices.
Either way, this extra supply in the short term has actually worked to
keep cattle prices from soaring at the same rate as the grains. But this
is temporary. By this summer, supply will decrease as cattle that would
have been coming to market just then have already been slaughtered. Are
we already beginning to see this play out on the chart? Well, take a

Many of the same dynamics are in play in the pig market. Note the similar chart pattern of a recent breakout to new highs.
So what does all this mean? It means you'd better prepare.
Maybe you're comfortable and you have all the disposable income you
need. Great, but what about your sister, trying to raise her three kids
on 50 grand a year? What about your neighbor or your best friend who is
trying simply to make ends meet after losing a job? What can you do to
help them?
start by warning them about the coming surge in food costs brought about
by quantitative easing. All of the factors discussed above, combined
with soaring fuel costs, will most certainly lead to a much higher "cost
of living" in the near future. The time to act is now.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
slow_roast's picture

What shithead wrote this article?  Just kidding. ;)

the mad hatter's picture

yeah what a douche. stop making the cost of living go up, speculator.

egdeh orez's picture


High quality charts/presentation.  Reminds me of the type I'd make!

HoofHearted's picture

Love the Turd. Embrace the Turd. Uh, nevermind.

baby_BLYTHE's picture

Help feed the Turd!

Dr. Richard Head's picture


I remember talking to my pops about inflation back in late 2008 and early 2009.  He said that tide will lift all boats. 

Last year I made more money than at any point in my life on a nominal basis.  Too bad basic life needs have risen faster. 

Anyone see that reset button? 

Dr. Richard Head's picture

Junked really?

Someone upset by the fact that the cost-push inflation created by Bennie Boy takes boats underwater quicker than demand pull inflation?

Tide is coming in bitchez.  Better recognize.

Imminent Crucible's picture

Junked? I'm sure someone meant to hit the reply button and hit junk instead.

Either that, or it was your dad.

Misean's picture

The real problem is that these price increases are bubbly (freshly printed levered money chasing a near-time limited supply) and inflationy (more money floating around the plebes). This distorts the ag markets and causes chaos in the food chain.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, but I am making too much on commodities and rare earths to push it, just yet.

Eric The Red's picture

Holy Crap, 


A Turd post was the only thing that could have made me log back in on ZH.  And my picture thing still works, WoooooooHoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

CD's picture

Hiya, Eric#1. Good to see you flying the Viking flag...

I too have trouble with getting the icon to display in Blogspot, but what the heck..

nevadan's picture

USDA grain and crop reports out tomorrow.  Probably a volatile day ahead.

Idiot Savant's picture

Beans & rice, bitchez!

Bubbles...bubbles everywhere's picture

Since I started reading this blog a few months ago, I bought a 20 lb. bag of beans and thought myself how to cook them. I now make a mean batch of beans and have save probably hundreds of dollars in the process by just cutting my dinning out habits. Oh, and I made a few bucks buying silver too ;) 

Lord Koos's picture

The problem with buying that many beans is that they get stale, unless you are eating them every single day.

SheepDog-One's picture

But hog prices are bullish! We just learned that consumption is not down, well as long as they dont stop printing food stamps or make anyone pay their mortgage ever again!

MountainMan's picture

All hail the turd!

thebark's picture

Look...the Fed is going to bring QE2 to an end in June....the dollar will soar....commodities will crash...along with the stock market.....

but when no one shows up at the auction for our trash(bonds & treasuries) the following month the Fed will come right back in with QE3!

Then the shit(gold, silver & most all commodities) goes parabolic....


Dan The Man's picture


nice penmanship !

oh_bama's picture

Which part of the two points below you don't understand?



Bicycle Repairman's picture

Bernanke has got to get the primary dealers to stop buying food commodities and focus on APPL.  Meanwhile they can raise the margin requirements on these commodities.

DosZap's picture

Thw worst part is people can and will, and are doing without meat.

It is also the easiest to keep, the grains are where the killing fields lie.

Stop and think about what is made out of just three grains, Wheat,Corn, Rice.

They feed the world.

We douchebags, burn it as fuel, and it's not a $ friendly substitute.

Spalding_Smailes's picture

But, but, but ..... How do charts work in a rigged fiat casino driven by the EE & Blythe ? Just can't wrap my mind around that one .....

SheepDog-One's picture

Turd...why do I get the distinct impression its US that are being fattened up and lulled into complacency for the slaughter??

RobotTrader's picture

Metals getting crushed today.

Could be enough to send the CRB Index and the ags into a freefall.....

So far, the line appear to be holding.

Spalding_Smailes's picture

Don't worry the crash will be blamed on the EE or something so the said predictions are not put into question .... Happens every single time. A win • win. And you get payed in fiat.

nope-1004's picture

Chart shows Gold down .02%.  "Crushed"???

If Netflix goes up .01%, is that "parabolic"??

The only thing happening here is the banksters have no metal and are flooding the market with unbacked paper shorts to keep prices down, all to mask the inflationary cliff Benocide has us headed toward.


Gotta love white collar crime.

Blythe has no conscience.

Robot Traders Mom's picture

What is your definition of a crash? I wasn't on ZH 30 years ago when silver crashed so I can't say blaming the EE happens everytime.

In fact, I can't remember the last time silver and gold crashed.

lieutenantjohnchard's picture

the buffoon strikes again. silver is up. true, it opened up, and then filled the gap. but folks bought the non-dip.

and gold is flat.

and home depot is down .73%. hd, you will remember, is the stock that must be on everyone's buying wish list if you want to be part of the 2% winners in the market that school the 98% losers, at least according to zh's resident clown, the catfish mouth robo uber bull bear wannabe poster known as robottrader.

RobotTrader's picture

Home Depot has vastly outpeformed the biggest, blue chip gold stock, NEM by a mile.

And, Home Depot pays a dividend which is more than double Newmont's.

Any wonder why the smart money has been buying retail stocks and not big cap golds?


Spalding_Smailes's picture

A monkey hammer ..... Or should I say .... Pin Drop .....

lieutenantjohnchard's picture

no fair changing the target. you said "the metals" are getting crushed, not nem.

silver is up and gold is flat.

francis_sawyer's picture

Robo, my inclination would be here to JUNK you (for putting up a Home Depot chart)...


Because of ALL retail, that would be the one tied most closely to "Armageddon" (think people who are behind the 8-ball - taking inventory of what PHYSICAL upgrades they need to do to their homes to improve efficiency due to the EXPECTATION of higher commodity costs [lumber, insulation, "do-it-yourself" tools, lawn & garden...emphasis on GARDEN]).

One could EASILY determine that Home Depot happens to be in a cyclical "bull" here (until people get re-stocked on basic necessities)...

Hell - I'm thinking that they could stay afloat for the next 2 years just selling SEED packets & garden hoses...

I'm at Home Depot 2-3 times per week...

Just saying...


SubjectivObject's picture

I resemble this remark.

Now think how HD would perform is they sold G&A.

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

It's physical or nothing.

Paper metals are for... well, folks like you.

Vint Slugs's picture

Time for some moron to tell us to btfd

LawsofPhysics's picture

sorry, you missed it. Many of us already turned paper gold into revenue bearing equities.

lieutenantjohnchard's picture

actually i tried to buy the dip. but physical prices are up from yesterday where i buy. i wish there were a dip to buy.

JerseyGuy's picture

Wait - going vegetarian will not only suck in general terms but it wont save me any money??? Another reason to never trust a hemp-covered hippie.  But will this mean the end of the 99cent Taco Bell menu?

Geoff-UK's picture

As long as people are willing to eat sawdust, the 99 cent menu at Taco Bell is safe.

Dagny Taggart's picture

You start by warning them about the coming surge in food costs brought about by quantitative easing.

And if they don't seem to "get" it, this is what they get on their birthday.

falak pema's picture

By the law of averages, all things that rise have as consequence all other things that fall.

Lets try and name a few :

My appetite when I see these rises.

My ability to take my wife out.

My desire to pay my banker's or tax man's calls, for imminent, last minute before closing of account/ summons by bailiff, warnings. They can just fuck off. All the more so that when you call them for explanation you end up with an answer phone tape, and it costs you telephone time to leave your complaint.

My ability to drive down to the sea for a day out at the drop of a hat when the sun shines.

My ability to talk to my friends about sports events/results as they don't watch the TV any more. Too much work!

My ability to fuck around in town as a book buyer or girl gawker, with time to kill on a side walk café when the sky is blue and I feel my office stinks of my perspiration from over work.

Fortunately on the upside,  I can always kick the can in front of a woman who gives me a parking ticket as I always drive the car of my son-in-law to be. He's lent it to me as I lend him my town flat at expensive rates. It's my ride and his ticket. Welcome to the family son.

Lol, life does have it's meager satisfactions, when I see his face over week ends. But he is a nice guy except he works for a Hedge fund, so he can pay for the dents I put into his car bumpers.

Written by my alter-ego, my avatar on a dog leash.

kaiserhoff's picture

Kill the ethanol subsidies/mandates and many problems go away.  If there is a need for ethanol fuel (there isn't) import from Brazil at a fraction of the cost.

With all due respect to Turd, if you want to understand agriculture, read the trade journal, The Prairie Farmer.  Well worth the effort for the serious few.

Flyingtrader's picture

Just FYI... we EXPORTED 1.25 million barrels of ethanol to Brazil this year.

kaiserhoff's picture

It is much cheaper to make ethanol from sugar than corn, a trick well known to all distillers.  If we export ethanol, it is for the same reason we make sugar from beets: retarded, soviet socialist style price manipulation from the government.

no2foreclosures's picture

"Most of the best steakhouses proudly champion corn-fed beef because, frankly, its tastes a helluva lot better than grass-fed."

Love that idiotic statement!

Cows are not designed by Mother Nature to digest the starch in corn.  That's why it takes 10 lbs of corn to produce 1 lb of beef meat.

This writer hasn't been to Argentina where their cows are a lot happier munching on grass and their beef tastes 10 times better than any "champion corn-fed beef".

Case in point: Watch the returning Argentineans flying back to Buenos Aires and see if they choose beef or chicken.  Almost to a single man and woman, they will always choose chicken, because they think American "champion corn-fed beef" tastes like shit.

Not to mention the GMO aspect of American "champion corn-fed beef" which causes the unsightly scenes of the supersized Norte Americanos at Walmart.