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Should 2012 and/or 2013 wheat be sold?

Should 2012 and/or 2013 wheat be sold?

Marketing decisions are personal. What works for one person may not work for another. Prices can’t be predicted.

At this writing, Oklahoma and Texas cash wheat prices are in the vicinity of $8.90, and wheat may be forward contracted for June 2012 delivery for about $8.10. These prices are relatively good considering that on June 15, cash prices ranged mostly from $5.88 to $6.10. Two years ago on July 1, 2010, cash wheat prices were mostly between $4.80 and $5.10.

An $8.85 wheat price means different thing to different producers. One producer said that if he could get $9 for his wheat, he could replace his 1984 tractor and equipment. Another producer said he could not afford to lose the opportunity to sell wheat at $8.85.

Yet another producer just couldn’t live with himself if he missed the opportunity to sell wheat for $10. He was willing to accept $7.75 minus storage and interest rather than not have the opportunity to sell wheat for $10.

What about selling 2013 wheat? That $8.10 price will cover production costs and provide a pretty good return on investment. But a producer said he just can’t relax for worrying about not producing enough wheat to meet the contract. He referenced a neighbor that forward contracted one-half of average production and lacked 25 bushels covering the contracts.

Prices had increased more than $2 per bushel. He not only did not get the higher price, but he also had to pay $50 for the non-delivered wheat (difference in contracted price and market price at the time of delivery).

June 2013 wheat prices could easily be $6 or less. How hard would you beat up on yourself for missing the opportunity to sell at $8?

Remember that marketing decisions are personal. What works for one person may not work for another.

Also remember that prices can’t be predicted. No one knows what tomorrow’s price will be, and we sure do not know what the price will be June 15, 2013.

In making sale decisions, one can only evaluate the market situation, the financial situation, and the personal psychological attitude and then make a decision. In my opinion, the psychological attitude is as important as the financial situation.

If a person makes a decision that keeps him awake at night, the odds are increased that he will make some other mistake that will cost much more than a different price could overcome.

For the last two months, wheat prices have followed corn prices higher. The good news, price-wise, is that 2012/13 marketing year wheat production estimates are lower than projected two months ago. Wheat stocks are getting sufficiently tight so that the wheat supply and demand situation may justify current price levels without corn’s support.

If 2012/13 marketing year wheat production estimates continue to decline, wheat prices could continue to increase without corn prices also increasing.

Recent reports indicate that Russia may suspend wheat exports. Argentina’s wheat producers have planted 23 percent less wheat for 2012/13 than last year. Dry conditions in Western Australia may result in lower than expected Australian wheat production.

At this writing, the Kansas City Board of Trade September wheat contract price is $9.38. This is a new contract high. The next price resistance is about $9.90 – might as well say $10. Unless it rains in the U.S. Corn Belt and/or Western Australia, prices could go up another $0.50 to $0.60.

Selling wheat in increments is nearly always a sound marketing decision. If prices go up, you have more wheat to sell, and if prices go down, you will have sold some wheat. This strategy is good both financially and psychologically.

Many marketing and financial studies support “dollar cost averaging.” So selling in increments produces a relatively good price (based on market opportunities) and allows most decisions makers “peace of mind.”

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