When people ask me about what I do, I tell them I am a mostly retired farmer.
I don’t do anything in planting or harvesting season, but I do keep track of the grain market through the year and work with my son to try to sell a portion of the crop during those rallies in prices.
My goal is to have half of my APH of corn and soybeans sold by May of each year.
Trying to find a good price for our crop this year has not been easy. But you know that.
I do not like to store soybeans. All the soybeans are hauled to our local elevator during harvest, sold and unsold.
I like to have the unpriced beans sold as soon after harvest as I can, trying to catch what looks like a good price. It provides a good supply of cash so I can start paying bills.
When we finished soybean harvest, cash beans were at $8.86. Not a great price because I had my half of my APH sold in increments that averaged $9.
The bean market had been so poor and me so pessimistic that my first sale for this year’s bean crop was made last winter at $8.28. Following sales were made at $8.48, $8.91 and $9.28.
Looking back, I didn’t sell enough at $9.28. I could have sold more at that price but was getting past my 50 percent APH. And $9.28 was too good to let pass.
While beans prices were down, our yield was up, way up, and due to some additional bean acres and an excellent yield we grew almost another 50 percent more soybeans than we had in previous years. That’s a nice problem to have.
So here comes this nice bean rally in recent weeks just when I need one and I have more unpriced beans than I planned on.
It’s time to put on my grain trader’s cap.
I watched as the cash price for beans crept past $9.
I listened to several market analysts tell how they didn’t know how long this rally was going to last and at what price it would end.
I noticed a hint of pessimism in their voices, especially when they said we have a big supply of beans that will need to be sold in the coming months.
I called my local elevator and they told me cash price that day was $9.01. Now what do I do?
I weighed my options. My grace period of free storage was nearing its end. It was approaching the time to either sell or store.
Will the market go up enough to offset the cost of storage? From what I could tell, this may be about as good as the market gets.
How much should I sell? I could certainly sell most of the beans and hold back a few to see if I can take advantage of a higher-priced market.
All these things were going through my head as the young woman who quoted me the $9.01 price was on the telephone line.
I told her one of my mottos in life is to take a sure thing and $9.01 is a sure thing.
I liquidated the remaining unpriced beans for $9.01. I was out of the 2016 soybean market, for better or worse.
I watched the bean market the rest of the day as it went up, down a little and closed at $9.05.
I told my wife the next morning how I had missed about a nickel a bushel in my soybean sale.
The third presidential debate had been the night before and she asked me a question.
“Are you going to be like Donald Trump and not accept the final results of your sale?”
Not only does she know how to stab me with knife of truth, she knows exactly where to put the blade.
So I am like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays, I made it to the playoffs, but will miss the World Series as the bean rally continues.
There’s always next year.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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