Finding weather trends

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Corn continues to trade in a 20-cent range. Weather conditions appear favorable for early planting, which makes above trend-line yields possible. While some in the market estimate there is enough weather premium in Dec futures at $3.75, many think above average yields will bring $3 corn or lower.  Many farmers are hoping for a 50-cent weather driven rally to catch up on sales.  Both sides are keeping corn “stranded” in a narrow trading range.Beans recovered nicely on Friday to stay in the current 60-cent trading range they had been in. Fundamentally the bean story isn’t bullish. There may be a $1+ per bushel weather premium factored in due to La Nina potential in August. Farmers will likely continue holding beans because many are underwater at these levels.  Beans could continue to trade sideways temporarily.A longtime friend of this weekly newsletter sent me an article about a possible correlation of Great Lakes ice coverage and the national corn yield.  While the story was interesting, I’ll just say…I wish it was only that easy.  It seems I read something every day that counters a “weather prediction” from the previous day. Last year people in the eastern corn belt were trying to correlate why corn should be $5.  When it hit $3.50 many farmers were devastated and unprepared.Bottom line — weather is impossible to predict. But on top of that, even when we compare similar “weather-type” years, there are too many variables affecting the market to use the information effectively.  For instance, while the weather was maybe similar in 1983, 1988, 2010, 2011, or 2012, other market situations were still vastly different. Funds are more active now than in the 80s. Farmers debt to asset ratios are different as well as Government and Insurance protection programs. Even seed technology is completely different between 2016 and that of five years ago, let alone the 80s and 90s.I’m not suggesting we disregard weather predictions and historical trends, but it’s important to keep them in perspective. I read recently that using historical weather predictions tend to be correct two out of three times (or 66% of the time).  Are you prepared to place a $50,000 bet on those odds?  Let me give you an example.  Say corn rallies to $4.  If the average 100,000 bushel farmer waits, hoping for $4.50, but ultimately has to sell for $3.50, that farmer gambled away $50,000.There is substantial risk in these markets and there will continue to be until at least July. Take all the weather predictions with a grain of salt and try to develop a long term grain marketing strategy that takes into consideration multiple weather scenarios, rather than hoping it will rain and betting all your grain on it.  If you make plans now with a flexible strategy, weather conditions will have less of an effect on your bottom line in the end.last_img

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