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Outlook: A Mix of Old and New

February 11, 2013
By: Bob Utterback, Farm Journal Columnist
bob utterback
  
 
 

Corn Old Crop 12345678 9 10
New Crop 12 3 45678910


Sales Index Key

Excellent sales opportunity    10
Excellent buying opportunity    1


So far the market is following the short-crop, long-tail price pattern. Since we have extremely tight stocks, lead-month futures have gone premium to the deferred contracts. This pattern is expected to persist into July. On the other hand, the 2013 crop has significant downside risk if we see more than 99 million planted acres and a yield above 158 bu. per acre.

With that in mind, sell expected 2013 inventory in a way that allows flexibility but protects the risk of a major downside price break if trendline yields become a reality. Buy the maximum crop insurance coverage. Price September deep-in-the-money puts when September corn trades between $6.20 and $6.50. To further manage risk, sell out-of-the-money May or July puts to offset some of the time value cost. Don’t sell calls to help pay for the puts until July.

Beans Old Crop 123456 7 8910
New Crop 1234 5 678910

The chance of a solid crop in South America should keep the old crop below $15.50. Granted, demand from China should stabilize old crop prices into July. It’s likely more acres will be planted along with a fair amount of old crop held into the summer because of weather concerns. I see limited potential for November 2013 soybeans above mid-$13 unless yield takes a hit.

Purchase deep-in-the-money puts and roll up if prices rally, but sell old crop deep-out-of-the-money puts for time value decay. Lock up basis for off-the-combine cash sales, but don’t for the bushels that will be stored long-term.

Wheat Old Crop 12345 6 78910
New Crop 1234 5 678910

While we’ll likely see less winter wheat plantings, expect spring plantings to be up if prices rally. Historically, the seasonal pattern is sideways to declining for Chicago July wheat. A 50% retracement of the fall break is $8.50. Weather concerns and the chance of additional feed wheat should help keep the market firm into spring.

Sell on a price bounce due to a winter weather scare. Use long puts to price 100% of a crop above $8.

Cattle 12 3 45678910

The January cattle on feed report was a game changer. Wait on a retest of the recent highs to price inventory. Focus on the December 2013 contract; if it moves back to $150 or higher, scale up your selling campaign. It’s important to protect feed needs until we have a new crop.

Hogs 123 4 5678910

With strong cattle fundamentals and potential tighter hog supplies, no hedging is suggested for the first half of 2013. Protect anticipated third and fourth quarter inventory if we see a seasonal price recovery into June to retest contract highs.

This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of Utterback Marketing Services, Inc., and is, or is in the nature of a solicitation. This material is not a research report prepared by Utterback Marketing Services, Inc. By accepting this communication, you agree that you are an experienced user of the futures markets, capable of making independent trading decisions, and agree that you are not, and will not, rely solely on this communication in making trading decisions. Distribution in some jurisdictions might be prohibited or restricted by law. Persons in possession of this communication indirectly should inform themselves about and observe any such prohibition or restrictions. To the extent that you have received this communication indirectly and solicitations are prohibited in your jurisdiction without registration, the market commentary in this communication should not be considered a solicitation. The risk of loss in trading futures and/or options is substantial and each investor and/or trader must consider whether this is a suitable investment. Past performance, whether actual or indicated by simulated historical tests of strategies, is not indicative of future results. Trading advice is based on information taken from trades and statistical services and other sources that Utterback Marketing Services, Inc., believes are reliable. We do not guarantee that such information is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. Trading advice reflects our good faith judgment at a specific time and is subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that the advice we give will result in profitable trades.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Mid February 2013

 
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