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Ruby Lou
Senior Contributor

Women and grain marketing

Anyone else about sick over the markets??  I do not "market" the grain here, I know many women do for the farm.  I do try to watch the markets and may call my husband if I see the market go up.  He doesn't have a smart phone, so he doesn't watch the markets that way.  If he happens to go in the house, he will check on the computer.  We are sitting on quite a bit of grain yet...should've, could've, would've but we didn't sell earlier.  The operating loan needs some money going towards it.  Do we just close our eyes and pull the trigger??  Doesn't really sound like its gonna get any better anytime soon.

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4 Replies
Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Women and grain marketing

It has to be nervewracking to sit and study, trying to figure out when to go on this selling. Sounds like a very hjgh-stakes poker game to me.

It has been so many decades since we had row crops to sell, and our storage/drying capacity was pretty limited, I have forgotten the decision makng process, not that there was very much of one at our place! More in my mond is how we made decisions of when to load and sell top hogs.m

With that, we had a narrow window of weights, and would have gotten docked heavily for any animal falling outside the brackets. Livestock hasn't got the same opportunity to store...they keep eating, regardless.

I do remember my father teaching me that his theory was that having higs to sell all year long prevented the need to borrow operating money for crops. We essentially had two " cash crops", in peanuts and tobacco. The rest of the land was dedicated to raising feed crops for the hogs. They went to market to pay seed, fertilizer, labor, etc.

The best marketing story I have to share was when Daddy told me to take Jenna to the tobacco market with me to sell one day. Ge said, "set her on your first pile the buyers will get to...a cute little kid makes them pay more."

I put her into her luttle Hee Haw bibs, tucked her on top of my first 200-pound pile, opened her Strawberry Shortcake lunch pail, and she charmed the socks off of those old, tough buyers. They bid my piles high that day, for sure. Hadn't thought about that day in a long time...great memory!
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Suey73
Advisor

Re: Women and grain marketing

For about 5 years we have subscribed to a  marketing newletter.  It comes in our e-mail 5 days a week.   They base their recomendations on charting  sell signals.   When there is a sell signal for soybeans or corn... We get a phone call first and then an e-mail shows up.   Sometimes you have to move fast.  Last 2 sell signals only lasted a couple of hours.    There are also buy signals for feeders for soybean meal and corn.    Wheat people can get signals to sell too.    Costs us $250/year.   It makes it easier to pull the trigger.   And quite honest helped with marketing the 2014 crop.    2015.... not so good  so far.   My job is keep an eye on the markets and tell DH  when I think we are getting close to a selling point.  That way we can try and calculate how much we want to sell or contract.     And  it is my job to keep track of all of those contracts.   Still haven't come up with a good system.   Need to keep a better record of how many bushels we have presold/contracted so as not to sell too much or too little. 

We bin  75% of our soybeans  and 90% of our corn.  

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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Women and grain marketing

Al Kluis has an article called Your Profit in the May edition of Successful Farming that talks about the very problem you raise.

His answer is not very palatable to many.  Essentially, it involves selling either based on a price target or a date.  He is not very optimistic about higher prices the rest of this crop year.

There is a lot of grain out there, and as the growing season goes on, there is less and less reason to hope for a weather scare, which seems to be the only big chance for higher prices.

Marketing is a big challenge.  This year may be worse than most.

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Women and grain marketing

Jim, I was thnking you have to shoot for one or the other, with the date as the final default. It makes no sense to hold a product as prices are on the decline, generally.

This year threatens to be a bery bad one for farmers of all types:prices, water restrictions for you crop guys; avian flu fir poultry and egg producers; amd we swine growers have PEDV still making the rounds, with PRRS 174 multiplying the pain. The on,y bright spot appears to be beef right now...hoping our steers do well at sale next month.

Right now, we are scuffling to save as much hay as we can, and start calculations on how much forage can be converted to cash through cattle. Hoping this 30-35 cow/ calf grazing farm can be boosted to 50-60 with hay from my farms, which are not too far away. The NC irrigated hayfields are a further resource. Thinking we might hit 75-80 mamas with them, with some safety margin.

Of course, by the time we figure it all out, and build mostly internally, beef prices will probably be in the toilet, too. Much as I hate dealng with rental properties, I have to be honest, and say that I am glad these houses carry off all of our property taxes and then some. Rented my old store yesterday, for enough to feed us, too.

I would have never planned things the way they have gotten to at this point, but having a little cashflow outside of agriculture is turning out to be a good thing....
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