Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Grain prices continue to be low, stressful, and unprofitable for Ohio and U.S. producers. While March CBOT corn last summer on July 13 had reached $4.62, it has spent little time above the $4 since October. It then fell to $3.64 mid-November. Corn basis levels continue to be historic and record setting. Producers in Ohio are experiencing those levels due to the state seeing demand exceed production. Ethanol plants are a constant demand that appear to be committed to remain in production for the long term. In addition, the weather extremes seen in western and northwest Ohio last summer pulled down corn production for Ohio. Feed plants in those areas will work hard to source their corn as they will be in strong competition with the ethanol plants long into the summer.While the year is new and fresh, the harsh reality of lower grain prices is old and stale. Grain producers long for much better prices for corn and soybeans. Many producers cannot make money with corn below $4 and soybeans below $9. While grain prices are sharply below those seen two to four years ago, input prices are not. Land owners are yielding little to lower cash rents. In recent years customers in many different Ohio counties report taxes have more than doubled. Fertilizer prices have dropped in recent months. Used equipment prices have seen big drops in the past year.Details from numerous important dates in December 2015 will continue to dominate market news and price activity in coming weeks. Newly elected Argentina president, Mauricio Marci, came into office on Dec. 10. His election several weeks earlier dominated the news, providing lots of price volatility especially for soybeans. March CBOT soybeans made new contracts lows, reaching $8.47 the day following Marci’s election. Analysts thought his pro-business stance, in sharp contrast to the previous socialist government, would push soybeans from Argentina’s producers into the market. Marci had proposed the lowering of grain export taxes and a currency devaluation in Argentina. That combination could bring up to 20 million tons of soybeans to the market in coming months.Dec. 14 was the next important date. Argentina President Mauricio Marci was to begin detailing his campaign promises now that he has been elected. Grain prices in November and December had additional volatility due to the huge uncertainty of how grain export taxes would be changed. Prior to Dec. 14, different levels of tax relief for corn, soybeans, and wheat had been floated. There were even ideas of reduced soybean export taxes that varied week by week into the future. Then the talk of currency devaluation brought much uncertainty. The amount of U.S, dollar currency Argentina held in reserve would play a role in the actual implementation of Argentina’s currency devaluation.Dec. 16 was the final date of importance, this date regarding the U.S. Fed. Many have assumed an interest rate increase would take place, and it did. An future increase is likely with additional increases in the next 12 months. Better than expected U.S. jobs reports this fall give credence to an improving U.S. economy and concerns of inflation returning to the forefront.The passing of these dates will bring additional details along with price movements for corn, soybeans, and wheat. One word alone will bring more uncertainty. Weather. While not new, keep this in your memory bank. El Niño. The current El Niño is the strongest one in the past 20 years. Some use the word, “monster,” to detail its current status. It could influence weather events for the next decade. It is scary when most think of weather in weeks or months, not years.Midwest two-week weather forecasts in mid-December called for above normal temperatures. Grain producers have had very few days since harvest with the desired temperatures to run the fans in grain bins. Cold grain has a much better chance to condition properly for the winter. This very unusual weather factor could prove to be of major influence for the next three months.