Getting the Most from Your Winter Marketing Meetings

January 2018

Happy New Year! The Winter Marketing Meeting Season is now upon us and many of you will be attending one of the upcoming Ag PhD meetings in expectations of hearing fresh ideas for marketing 2018 grain production.  A Risk Management expert from Grain PhD will be at each of the meetings, and we look forward to meeting you there.

In preparation, I want to discuss some of the most popular phrases that you will be hearing this winter and some tips for getting the best information that you can from the meetings.

Have a Plan

This will likely be the most popular phrase that you will hear this winter and it is a very valid commentary in grain marketing as price rallies can be unexpected and quite acute.  Having resting orders or strategies in place is very important to your winter pricing program.  However, you need to take it beyond the generic phrase of “Have a Plan”.  If you hear an analyst suggest that you have a plan make an attempt to get an audience with them and ask them a price level where they would begin their winter pricing program.  From there you can stagger your sales up to your desired priced levels.  It’s one thing to “Have a Plan” but determining a starting point will help to put that plan into action, that is the ultimate objective.

Use All the Tools in Your Toolbox

This has always been a popular phrase at meetings.  It is used to point out that there are many products that you can use in grain marketing.  On the cash side you have straight cash contracts, forward contracts, hedge to arrive contracts, minimum price contracts etc.  On the futures/options side you can look to sell the carry in futures or use trailing stops to catch a market as it turns rather than selling into strength, and in the options market the number of strike prices and expirations are too plentiful to list.  In fact over the past several years the “toolbox” has become a “tool shed”.  In order to reduce confusion and create focus I believe producers should instead turn it into a “tool belt” if I can drive that analogy into the ground.  Find a few products that you understand, many of which are described on, and utilize them.  In fact if you hear this phrase this winter, ask them what products worked well for them this past year to try to discover what would work well in your marketing plan.

Sharpen Your Pencil to Know Your Breakeven

It is always a good idea to know your costs and your breakeven as well as your expected return as soon as possible.  However, this should not be a prerequisite for you to begin to have in place the initial stages of a marketing plan.  It’s important to be able to take advantage of winter pricing opportunities if they are presented.  The markets can be fickle and fast moving.  They will not always wait for you to complete your paperwork.

Keep your radar tuned for these catch phrases while attending the winter meetings, and be ready to make sure they are meaningful to you and your operation.  Discover what action needs to take place and remember that if you have questions you can reach out to “Ask an Expert” at

Grain PhD representatives will be attending the Ag PhD Winter meetings with the Hefty Brothers. Please stop by our table and ask us any questions you have about Grain PhD and how we can help you manage your price risk.

2018-01-24T14:47:26+00:00 January 1st, 2018|