As attractive as soybean prices are, it can be frustrating for farmers who sold their crops long before this rally took place.
From January through August, virtually no one asked questions about the market’s upward potential. By late summer, frustration was kicking in, and many farmers sold in hopes revenue protection and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funding would keep things afloat.
On Wednesday, March soybean futures settled at $13.61½ per bushel. Some farmers wish they still had beans to sell. But generally speaking, if there were beans to sell, the price likely wouldn’t have spiked so high.
“This is probably the most hated rally I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in this business for 38 years,” said Curt Kimmel of Bates Commodities in Normal. ”When you sell something, and see it go higher, it’s frustrating. And when you buy something ,and the market goes lower, it’s frustrating too. The key is we have to decide: Are we managing risk, or am I trading?”
Kimmel says for a risk manager, it was prudent to make sales last fall. One reason was to avoid storage costs, considering the markets were showing no upward potential. “On the other hand, if you’re a trader, and the trend’s up, get on a break and ride the wave.”
Meanwhile, farmers have much better opportunities this January than they did a year ago, even five months ago. With new crop corn better than $4.40, and new crop soybeans better than $11.50, farmers can make some profitable sales on the upcoming crops.
“We need to maintain this strength through the month of February,” Kimmel said. “A lot of people look at these crop insurance policies, and that’s going to be huge to have something locked in at these higher levels.”
Kimmel encourages farmers at this point to make sure they have a floor priced into the market. In this environment, it’s important to protect the downside. “We did that all Fall through here, farmers wanted to sell and we said “let’s put a price floor in, and if it goes higher you can sell higher. And it did. We lost 10, 15, 20 cents on the put options, but the market rallied and guys were able to sell higher.”
All eyes will be watching Tuesday’s USDA reports, and will continue to monitor South American progress.