Field Crop Margin Outlook 2020: Some Margin Relief but Continued Uncertainty

Field crop farmer margins are facing sustained pressure globally, except in Brazil, where a weaker currency has contributed to rising local farmgate prices. While major inputs are trending downward, the 2020 outlook for agri commodity prices is relatively flat, and exchange rates are not expected to change much either, according to the ‘Rabobank Field Crop Margin Outlook 2020.’

“This stability means that yield developments are responsible for most of the variation in field crop farmer margins in 2019 and 2020,” according to Elizabeth Lunik, farm inputs analyst. “The 2020 outlook depends on stable yields holding up margins, as crop prices are expected to stay relatively flat due to significant global stocks and (still) weak demand.

“But despite this stable outlook, trade discussions remain heated between major trading partners, having a large impact on global trade flows and winners and losers. A further escalation of the trade conflict between the US and its trading partners is shifting trade flows, which favor South America and other cheaper exporters.”