I guess everything is relative; despite being historically high, energy prices are below year-ago levels. USDA raised its latest corn crop estimate to 13 billion bu. (the second-largest total ever, and the highest yield estimate on record). And, while ethanol mandates have taken corn prices to a whole new price level, they are well below year-ago levels.

USDA estimated the soybean crop to be up 10% from last year, setting an all-time high of 3.25 billion bu. We’re on the verge of the largest crop ever, but be prepared for frost concerns as the crop is running late and temperatures have been cool.

In addition, mineral prices have fallen with lower phosphorous prices, and distillers grains are dramatically lower, as well. And, hay yields are up around the country, with moisture conditions generally much improved for the nation’s rangelands. With reduced numbers on cattle on feed and a liquidating dairy herd, hay demand should be dramatically lower this year. And, interest rates are steady to lower as well.

Admittedly, calf prices are lower as well, but there is some comfort in knowing that winter feed costs should be lower than last year.