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November 2011 Archive for Standard Grain

RSS By: Joe Vaclavik

Joseph Vaclavik is the president at Standard Grain in Chicago. Standard Grain provides futures and options brokerage to farms, feedlots, elevators, processors, end-users and traders. Visit for more information.


Grains Reject Rally, Down Overnight...

Nov 30, 2011


·         Grains fail to hold yesterday’s rally and fall lower overnight; Corn trading 15 cents removed from yesterday’s highs this morning
·         Outside markets mixed with equities higher; Outside commodities and currencies mostly flat
·         Soybean export premium at the gulf were stronger yesterday; Slow farmer selling and China demand helping basis; China may have purchased US soybeans for Jan shipment yesterday
·         Russia winter wheat harvest seen at 39.5mmt vs 34.7mmt in 2011
·         Argentina Ag Ministry pegs 11/12 soybean output at 52-53mmt, corn output seen at 30mmt, wheat outputs at 13.5mmt
·         China cut reserve requirement ratio for banks this morning as concerns over slow economy grow
·          Exports tomorrow morning at 7:30am; Crop Progress Monday afternoon; USDA Crop Production on Dec 9th
·         Slow news day
Dec ’12 corn and Nov ’12 soybeans are trading at a ratio near 2.1 : 1. Most producers and seed salesmen that we’ve spoken with believe that soybeans will struggle to gain any significant amount of acreage in 2012 given the current ratios. Early data from seed companies support this idea. Don’t count out the Nov ’12 soybean market, especially relative to the Dec ’12 corn.


Straits Financial provides futures/options brokerage to farms, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik today at (312) 462-4438!

Funds Continue to Sell Grains

Nov 29, 2011


·         Grains mixed to higher overnight after yesterday’s bounce; Outside commodity markets somewhat supportive with $US down again
·         Winter wheat rated 52% good-excellent vs. 50% last week; USDA issued no harvest progress report for corn despite delays in the ECB
·         CFTC Commitment of Traders Report
o   Funds cut longs in corn by 47k to 83k; Increase net short in wheat by 12k to 87k; Increase net short in soybeans by 18k to 24k
·         Funds now holding smallest long in corn since July; Short wheat position biggest in 6 years;
·         USDA Risk Management Agency announced that US producers will pay 7% less for crop insurance on corn and 9% less on soybeans on average in 2012; New rates reflect updated system and methods of setting rates
·         Bill to scrap the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly has advanced; Farmers would be able to forward contract wheat if passed; CWB has done marketing for all Canadian wheat for 60 years
The short fund position in wheat is becoming over-extended in our opinion. We look for a significant short-covering rally at some point during in the 6-8 week period. Fund traders clearly exhibiting a bearish attitude towards the ag markets despite massive price break. Many corn producers now looking at Dec ’12 contract. We look for a rally back to the $6 area after the new year.

Straits Financial does futures/options brokerage for farms, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik at (312) 462-4438. 

Up Overnight on EU Fund Hopes

Nov 28, 2011


·         Grains sharply higher overnight in sympathy with strong outside markets; Major commodities including crude, gold, silver up sharply; Equities sharply higher with $US down
·         Major financial markets clearly anticipating some progress towards a euro zone bail-out fund this week
·         State Grain Admin in China has confirmed that the country has started stockpiling soybeans from farmers to last through April
·         E. Australian wheat growers have been hit by almost 8 inches of rain during the last 7 days, with forecasts for more this week, threatening what had looked to be a very good crop
·         CFTC COT report delayed until this afternoon; Export Sales this morning at 10am CST; Crop Progress today at 3pm CST
·         Harvest still dragging in the eastern Corn Belt; Many corn growers in Ohio still have 20% or more of their crop in the field due to wet conditions
Grains up overnight due mainly to outside markets. Today and tomorrow will be a good test to see if the markets can hold up without any news specific to ag markets. Keep an eye on the COT report this afternoon. Keeping track of fund movement is an important piece to the puzzle.

Straits Financial does futures/options business for farms, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik today at (312) 462-4438 for more information. 

Down Overnight...

Nov 23, 2011


·         Grains sharply lower overnight after closing barely higher yesterday in most contracts; New lows in corn, soybeans and wheat for the recent move
·         Outside markets soft again; Crude, equities, metals all lower with a sharply higher $US
·         Preliminary data showing that China manufacturing fell to lowest levels in 3 years; Concern growing over the slowing of Chinese economy
·         No bidders in China auction of state reserve soybeans; Fifth consecutive week with no bids
·         Weather reports suggest that 30% of Ukraine wheat and rapeseed will not withstand dry winter conditions
·         Spot ethanol profitability remains high, over $1/bushel or about 40 cents per gallon including fixed costs and basis
·         Export Sales delayed until Wednesday due to Thanksgiving Holiday
·         Grains markets trade regular hours today; Closed until Thursday night open at 6pm CST; Early close on Friday 12pm CST

Straits Financial does futures/options business for farms, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik today at (312) 462-4438! 

Grains Slow Overnight...

Nov 22, 2011


·         Grains rebounding slightly overnight after posting new lows for the move yesterday; Dec corn hovering near $6, soybeans can’t find support
·         Corn 96% planted vs. 93% last week and 88% on avg; Winter wheat 50% good-excellent, unch from last week
·         Avg Midwest ethanol profitability remains at historically high levels, near 40-50 cents per gallon or $1.20-1.40 per bushel, according to LSN
·         Ukraine to plant 2.3 mil/hec of spring grain due to weather damage to winter crops
·         Brazil soybean planting 71% complete vs. 58% lw
·         Export Sales delayed until Friday due to Thanksgiving Holiday
·         Outside markets supportive this morning with equities, crude and metals higher, $US lower
·         Slow news day, overall
Grains were trying to find a reason to bounce overnight, and were barely able to trade past unchanged. The market is certainly not “out of the woods” yet, however we wouldn’t be surprised to see a slightly retracement of recent losses as shorts cover positions ahead of the holiday. There is a good chance that both Dec corn and Dec wheat finish near $6 on Friday’s option expiration. Very slow news day.


Straits Financial does futures/options business for farms, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik today to find out how they can help you! (312) 462-4438 or

Funds Short Soybeans, Grain Slump...

Nov 21, 2011


·         Grains sharply lower overnight; Follow-through selling and negative outside market combining to push corn, soy and wheat past Friday’s lows
·         Corn exports, which account for only 13% of US corn demand, hit a 13-month low on Thursday leading many to believe that US corn is overpriced on the world market
·         Managed money (“the funds”) cut net long position in corn by 18k contract to 130k in week ending Nov 15;Funds now net-short soybeans for the first time 16 months, net-short about 5k; Increased net-short in wheat by 9k to 75k contracts; Index (“long only”) funds remain heavily long corn, soy and wheat
·         Funds apparently now with the lightest long positions in “ag” commodities since summer of 2010
·         Cattle on Feed: On Feed 104% (104% avg estimate), Placements 99% (99.2% avg estimate), Marketed 103% (101.4% avg estimate)
·         Super Committee failure to agree on debt plan being blamed for weak outsides this morning; Crude, Gold, Silver, Equities all sharply lower with $US marginally higher
Dec corn looks poised to test recent lows at 5.72 ¼ if there is a close below 6.00 this week. Funds clearing pressing the soybean market despite some China export business. Dec ’12 corn just a few cents away from lows near 5.50. Whatever the reason for the break, it shouldn’t be surprising that markets are slumping in the month of November. We look for a post-harvest rally at some point, timing is difficult. Call options have become cheap, use a defined-risk trade if attempting to be long.


Straits Financial does futures and options brokerage for farms, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik today to be added to a Free Trial of the full-version of the AM Grain Update.  (312) 462-4438 or 

Quiet Overnight After Yesterday's Collapse...

Nov 18, 2011


·         Grains down sharply yesterday, mostly quiet overnight; Overall commodity meltdown combined with Eurozone fears were too much to handle
·         Corn exports yesterday fell to a 13 month low; US corn clearly too expensive on world market; Exports account for only 13% of US corn usage according to most recent USDA numbers
·         China has continued to purchase US soybeans out of the Gulf, however no effect on the futures markets have been seen
·         Yesterday’s close may have put cash corn below the $6 mark in many areas of the country; Dec ’12 corn hovering just above major support near $5.50
·         S. Korean firm bought 125,000mt of corn including 70,000mt of US origin this morning
·          Option vol up sharply yesterday; Dec corn vol +8% on the day
·         Argentina gov’t sees soy area there at 19 mil/hectares, up slightly from 18.9 last year (1 hectare=2.47 acres); Corn area there unch at 4.9mil/hect
·         Argentina corn 62.1% complete up from 58.3% lw
·         Funds were reported sellers of 25k corn, 7k soybeans and 5k wheat yesterday
·         Hogs posted their biggest daily gain in several weeks yesterday; Some blamed short covering and spec traders looking for turnaround in pork demand
Momentum and technical indicators are pointing to more downside in the grain. Short wheat traders may be overstaying their welcome; Funds short near 30-35k Chicago wheat after yesterday’s collapse
Producers: Basis is good and carry has deteriorated. Call options are cheap. Selling cash and buying calls or call spreads for March or May corn/soybeans has a defined risk. Holding cash involves basis and spread risk which is likely more than the cost of the options. Also, explore basis contracts. Now is the time to take a pencil to paper and figure out your best strategy for grain in storage.
Specs: We continue to prepare to a short covering rally in wheat. Our N/Z spread we bought in the 45-47 area is now trading 38. We look for a move to even. 

Straits Financial does futures/options brokerage for farms, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik at (312) 462-4438 for more information!

Choppy Overnight, China Big Buyers of US Pork in Sept...

Nov 16, 2011


·         Grains lower overnight after a bounce yesterday; Jan soybean able to trade above $12 yesterday, but were unable to penetrate a downtrend line near $12.10
·         Corn prices testing the lower end of recent trading range yesterday; Dec options expire next Friday, no major reports between now and then
·         Japan bought 800,000mt of Ukraine corn due to high priced US corn
·         China bought 6 cargoes of US soybeans yesterday according to reports; China plans to buy 2mmt of beans for state reserves
·         Chinese trades do not expect China to import corn until early spring
·         Argentina on track to produce a record corn crop near 24-25mmt; Current USDA estimate higher at 29mmt
·         Sept US pork exports up 37% last year; China expanded pork imports nearly 310% year-over-year; Sept US beef exports up 27% from last year, but slightly less than the last few months
·         Ukraine will harvest 55mmt of grain, up 15.8mmt from last year
·         Outside markets mixed, should have no major impact this morning
Grains continue to trade a range as harvest wraps up. China purchases are good news for soybean bulls; however the market remains in a short-term downtrend. A close over the $12.10-12.15 area in Jan beans would negate the trend and likely spark short covering.   Corn looks destined to settle at $6.50 at option expiration next week. Wheat remains under pressure, however we believe it won’t take much to cause a major short –covering rally. Managed money is short about 26,000 contract of CBOT wheat.    

Straits Financial provides futures and options brokerage to farms, feedlots, elevators and processors!  Call Joe Vaclavik today at (312) 462-4438 for more information. 



The information contained herein is the opinion of the writer or was obtained from sources cited within the update.  It should be noted that the impact on market prices due to seasonal or market cycles and current news events may be reflected in market prices.

Beans Showing Strength...

Nov 15, 2011


·         Corn and soybeans higher overnight with wheat slightly lower; Soybeans showing strength after testing early Oct lows late last week
·         Outside market mostly negative with equities and crude lower; $US slightly higher
·         Crop Progress
o   Corn                      93% harvested vs. 87% lw, 82% avg
o   Soybeans            96% harvested vs. 92% lw, 94% avg
o   Winter Wheat   96% planted vs. 94% lw, 95% avg;  50% good-excellent vs. 49% lw
·         US attaché in UK estimates 11/12 Eu grain crop at 282.5mmt up from 280mmt, wheat output seen at 137.5mmt
·         Argentina gov’t allowed 500,000mt of 10/11 corn exports late yesterday
·         S. Korea feedmill bought 180,000mt of US & optional origin corn today for Feb/March arrival
·         COT Report indicating that managed money increased their corn long by 23k to 219k, decreased longs in soybeans by 7k to 28k, reduced net short in wheat by 9k to 26k
·         Brazil soybeans crop 58% planted vs. 48% last week
Soybeans showing independent strength the last couple of days. The Jan contract will need to close above $12.15 to negate a short-term down trend line that began in mid-October.   Corn looking soft, but likely rangebound. Some technicians eyeing the $6.20 area in the March contract. Farmer selling of corn is light despite excellent basis levels. 
Straits Financial works with farmers.  Call Joe Vaclavik today at (312) 462-4438 to be added to a free trial of our Daily AM Grain Update!

Choppy Overnight, Beans Showing Strength

Nov 14, 2011


·         Grains mixed overnight with soybeans showing independent strength; Soybeans essentially saw a double-bottom last week and have bounced slightly since then
·         Corn prices falling off after attempting a rally overnight; Dec ’11 corn now trading 64 cents over Dec ’12
·         Corn market clearly attempting to pry corn from farmers’ hands through rallies in spreads and basis; Futures unable to breakout of long time trading range
·         Outside markets weak with equities and crude lower, $US higher
·         On Friday, Informa pegged ’12 corn acreage at 94.0mil compared to 93.1mil in their Oct report; Soybean acreage for next year pegged at 76.1mil compared to 77.0mil in Oct
·         China maintained its corn production estimate for ’11 at 184.5mmt, wheat production seen at 116.79mmt; Soybean output seen at 13.5mmt
·         Export Inspections today at 10am CST; Crop Progress this afternoon at 3pm CST; Export Sales Thursday at 7:30am CST
·         China will import 58-61mmt of soybeans in the 11/12 marketing year according to traders at COFCO
·         COT report to be released this afternoon due to the Veteran’s Day holiday
Grains may continue to trade a range until more is known about the demand picture. The supply scare is priced-in for the most part. USDA’s demand numbers for corn last week were suspect. Traders waiting to see what kind of export demand there is for US soybeans. China buying soybeans from US gulf last week. 

Straits Financial provides risk-management and consulting services to farmers, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik today at (312) 462-4438 to be added to a free trial of the full-version of the Straits AM Grain Update!

Another Quiet Overnight...

Nov 11, 2011


·         Grains mixed overnight in a quiet session; Choppy trade continues as light volume and directionless trade continues
·         $US slightly lower overnight with equities slightly higher
·         Kazakhstan will export 100,000mt of wheat via Ukraine before year’s end
·         Option volatility down sharply over past 2 days for corn in particular; Implied Vol for Dec corn options was at 35% on Tuesday’s close and fell to near 26% yesterday
·         Cash cattle prices traded at record highs of $125-127 per cwt yesterday; Driven by tight supplies and strong export demand for US beef
·         Buenos Aires Grain Exchanges pegged corn planting at 58.3% complete, up from 56.8% last week; Soybean planting now 25% complete
·         179 soybean deliveries with no major stopper
·         Corn approaching lower end of recent trading range after yesterday’s failed rally

Straits Financial provides risk management and consulting services to farms,feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call Joe Vaclavik today at (312) 462-4438.

China Buys Beans, Corn Spreads on Fire...

Nov 10, 2011


·         Grain markets up overnight, led again by the front-end corn contracts; Dec/Dec corn now trading over 60 cents after trading under 40 just a few days ago
·         Yesterday’s USDA report showing a 100mil/bu reduction in corn usage for feed, other demand numbers left alone; Some analysts questioning USDA’s estimates regarding demand
·         Outside markets mostly strong this morning with equities higher and the $US lower; Italian debt worries subsiding, at least momentarily, this morning
·         Soybean export premiums were higher at the Gulf yesterday at Chinese buyers booked several cargoes of US soybeans for late Nov and Dec delivery
·         Australian wheat shipments rose 36% last marketing year, putting the country ahead of the Russia as the world’s 3rd largest grain exporter (US #1, EU #2)
·         According to USDA, Brazil will top US in global soybean exports in the 11/12 marketing year; US Crop shortfall and rising Brazil production to blame
·         China Oct soybean imports fell to a 7 month low at 3.81mmt
·         Weekly Ethanol production at 911,000bpd, down 5,000bpd from last week
·         Export Sales at 7:30am CST; Pre-report trade guesses :
o    Corn 550,000- 750,000
o    Soybeans 400,000 – 600,000
o    Wheat 350,000 – 450,000
·         Support/Resistance Numbers:
o    Corn(Z)                                   Support 6.46 ½ , 6.37                          Resistance 6.65 ¾ , 6.75 ½
o    Soybeans(F)                          Support 11.75 ¼ , 1165 ¼  Resistance 12.03 ¾ , 12.22 ¼
o    Wheat(Z)                               Support 6.31 ½ , 6.19 ¾                      Resistance 6.56 ¼ , 6.69 ¼
       Straits Financial provides risk-management and consulting services to farms, feedlots, elevators and processors!  Contact Joe Vaclavik directly at (312) 462-4438 to be added to a trial of the full-version of the AM Grain Update or to find out how we can help you with your futures business.

Grain Markets Wait for Wednesday's Report

Nov 08, 2011


·         Grain markets quiet again overnight as traders wait for tomorrow’s USDA Crop Production report
·         Average Trade Guesses for tomorrow:
o    Corn:                      147.7bpa vs. 148.1 in Oct; 795mil/bu vs. 866 in Oct
o    Soybeans:              41.4bpa vs. 41.5 in Oct; 182mil/bu vs. 160 in Oct
o    Wheat:                   817mil/bu vs. 837 in Oct
·         USDA rejecting RJO petition to delay tomorrow’s Crop Production report
·         Technical Numbers:
o    Corn (Z)                  6.40 support / 6.60 resistance
o    Soybeans (F)         11.85 support / 12.28 resistance
o    Wheat (Z)              6.24 support / 6.50 resistance
·         S. Korean group bought 85,000mt of corn, US/India origin; Ethiopia buys 45,000mt of milling wheat, Black Sea origin; Algeria bought 50,000mt of optional origin corn for Dec shipment
·         China Nat’l Grain and Oils center reported no bids were received in their auction for 300,000mt of state reserve soybeans
·         Crop Progress:
o    Winter Wheat: 49% good-excellent vs. 46% last week;  94% planted vs. 89% last week;  76% emerged vs. 68% last week
o    Corn: 87% harvested vs. 78% last week and 73% on average
o    Soybeans: 92% harvested vs. 87% last week and 88% on average
·         USDA’s Russian Ag attaché estimates that they have exported 10mmt of grain on strong demand abroad and lower competition
·         USDA ag attaché to S Korea report 11/12 corn import at 8mmt vs. previous estimates of 7.7mmt
·         CIF corn steady to +1 yesterday; Soybeans off about 2
Look for another choppy trade today ahead of tomorrow’s report. Outside markets are mostly choppy with the US$ mostly mixed. Equities slightly higher.
Looking for a new place to do your futures and options business?  Call Joe Vaclavik at Straits Financial today to be added to a FREE trial to the full-version of our daily grain market update.  (312) 462-4438.

Another Slow Overnight Session; USDA on Wednesday...

Nov 07, 2011

AM Grain Update

·         Another quiet overnight session in the grain markets; Tight ranges in corn, soy and wheat contracts as recent consolidation pattern continues ahead of Wednesday’s USDA report
·         Average Trade Guesses for Wednesday:
o   Corn:                     147.7bpa vs. 148.1 in Oct; 795mil/bu vs. 866 in Oct
o   Soybeans:           41.4bpa vs. 41.5 in Oct; 182mil/bu vs. 160 in Oct
o   Wheat:                 817mil/bu vs. 837 in Oct
·         CME Group has lowered the ratio of initial margins to 1 versus maintenance margins, lowering the cost for former MF Global customers to meet margin calls
·         Outside markets are mixed with equities lower, metals higher; $USD slightly higher
·         Heavy rains in W. Australia were slowing wheat harvest over the weekend
·         Ukraine could lose up to 30% of its 2012 winter grain crop due to severe drought
·         Technical Numbers:
o   Corn (Z)                                Support 6.40, 6.31            Resistance 6.57, 6.61
o   Soybeans (F)      Support 12.00, 11.75       Resistance 12.35, 12.60
o   Wheat (Z)            Support 6.20, 6.00            Resistance 6.40, 6.60
·         No major weather issues for S. American corn and soy producers
·         Funds made no major changes according to Friday’s CFTC report
           Looking for a premium piece of grain market research?  The full version of the Straits AM Grain Update is delivered via email to Straits customers by 7am each morning. Email with your name/email/phone number to be added to a FREE trial! 

No News Headed Into Weekend...

Nov 04, 2011


AM Grain Update
·         Grains are trading virtually unchanged this morning in a very quiet session;  Outside markets also quiet with currencies flat and equities slightly lower
·         Nearby Live Cattle contract trading near yearly highs, many believe improving margins in the cattle business could spark an increase in feed demand for corn on next week’s USDA Crop Production Report
·         EU corn output this year was up 2.9mmt at 63.7mmt versus last year
·         Argentine soy crushing workers have ended their strike, which was a result over a year-end bonus
·         Overhaul to US Farm Subsidy program will keep its price-support tool, but may wipe out some traditional subsidies
·         Asian wheat buyers have stayed away from the market this week as Australian harvest begins and lower cash prices are expected
·         USDA’s latest attaché report estimates Argentina wheat production 13mmt below USDA’s official estimate;  US attaché in Brazil raised its estimate for corn production there to 64mmt, 3mmt higher than USDA’s current official estimate
·         Some technicians eyeing $6.78 in Dec corn after the contract violated a short-term downtrend line yesterday
We expect a choppy trade to continue as we head into the weekend.  Next week’s USDA report may provide some market direction.  We’ll have pre-report trade estimates out next week.  Call the office with questions or concerns.
Spec:  No new trades.
Producers:  No new recommendations.    


Straits Financial Group is the brokerage division of CWT Group, one of the largest publicly-listed logistics companies in South-East Asia. CWT has offices and warehouses in 38 countries, providing customer connection to 120 ports and 1,200 destinations around the world.  


Contact Joe Vaclavik for information on hedging grain and livestock through Straits.  (312) 462-4438 or 



The information contained herein is the opinion of the writer or was obtained from sources cited within the update.  It should be noted that the impact on market prices due to seasonal or market cycles and current news events may be reflected in market prices.

Soybeans Strong, Grains Still Rangebound

Nov 03, 2011


Straits Financial AM Grain Update
-Grain complex sharply higher overnight led by soybeans;  Beans 20+ higher in most active contracts;  Dec corn back above 6.50 after selling off on the open yesterday;  Markets have been relatively thin due to MF Global accounts being frozen according to some proprietary traders
-Export Sales this morning at 7:30am CST;  Trade expecting 400-600 for corn, 450-750 for beans and 350-450 for wheat
-Russia’s winter wheat acreages is expected to be lower than expected, however the crop is in good shape according to newswires
-Some looking US soybean demand to return as buyers are expected to take advantage of low harvest prices;  Majority of big soy purchases have come out of S. America as of late
-Brazil has imported an estimated 148 mil/gal of ethanol, mostly of US origin, through Sept;  That number is expected to double through April 2012 according to UNICA (Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association)
-Technicians still eyeing the 6.60 area as major resistance for Dec corn and 6.37 as support;  Technicals in Jan soybeans are more broad, with support near $12.00 and resistance near $12.50;  Dec wheat support near 6.35 and resistance near 6.60
-Nov Crop Production report next week
                Selling the higher open has been effective in the grain markets over the last weeks.  Be cognizant of false breakouts above 6.60 in corn and above 12.50 in soybeans.  Demand remains the big questions.  Most would agree that the “supply scare” is over.  Now, we’ll see how many importers want to buy $6.50 corn.  Ethanol margins are excellent, currently. 
Producers: Corn growers should take a serious look at their break-evens for the 2012 crop.  We believe that hedges can be initiated using option strategies if the Dec’12 contract trades to 6.50.  Producers can hold off on rolling Dec HTAs for the time being.
Specs: No new recommendations today.  We still like long WH vs. short CH on a long term basis as we believe a short covering rally in wheat is likely. 
Please call the office with questions or concerns. 
Straits Financial provides risk management services to farms, feedlots, elevators and processors.  Call or email today!  (312) 462-4438 / 
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