Markets are indicating they want your corn and soybeans now.

Andrew Frankenfield, Penn State Extension


In late January I had a discussion with a farmer, he texted me and said, “Corn is $5.86, I think I’m going to lock in 5,000 bushels.” I responded, “Wait a minute, let me look at the charts, and read a few things.” The trend was up and sounding positive. My suggestion, “target $6.00 or February 1st, whichever comes first.” February 1st arrived, corn was now $6.02 cash and he locked it in. Take away message: Give yourself a price and a date to sell a certain number of bushels by.

I recently had another conversation with a local farmer. I said “I’ve been seeing your trucks hauling grain a lot the past couple weeks. I heard the mills were getting full of corn, have you had any problems delivering?” He said, “Not yet, but my corn was already priced, and the mill isn’t accepting unpriced corn.” That is another benefit of pricing corn ahead for future delivery. The conversation continued to me asking about his unpriced corn and how long he would hold it. His response was “I’m continuing to price it. I watch the markets every morning and throughout the day and price some as I see fit.” “Will you hold some for later in the year, like July for the market rally?” His response, “No, too risky for me.” He continued, “We have been receiving a profitable price, so we are hauling now when we have time and use the received money can pay fertilizer and other input costs, which saves me interest on an operating loan.” Good, sound business decisions from a veteran farmer.

What is driving the grain markets?


USDA Reports February corn carryout wasn’t decreased as much as expected and exports are expected to remain strong.

China remains a key factor in the global corn market; they have been buying a lot and that trend looks to continue.

With COVID-19 vaccinations happening and infection rates dropping, ethanol and gas demand are expected to increase as the global economies may start to open more.

Nearby, grain prices are stronger than futures prices in July, the market is trying to tell you to sell your corn now.


SDA report shows the tightest stock-to-use ration ever. You likely heard the talk about running out of soybeans this summer.

Brazil’s bean crop is expected to be strong and their harvest is just beginning. Just exactly how will their supply of beans impact the global market remains to be seen.

Overall, there are lots of questions and no clear answers. The next USDA report folks will be watching is the March 31st spring planting intentions report. There are only so many acres out there and if one goes up another is likely going to go down. Hang on, there will likely be some sharp ups and downs in the market in the coming months. Remember GameStop; there is someone trying to make money on every market move. We, as producers, are just trying to get a good price for our grain. Don’t get hung up on selling at the peak of the market, you’ll likely miss it. Just write down a marketing plan and work the plan with incremental sales.

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