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When should wheat be sold?

When to sell wheat may depend on the amount of price risks a producer can take.

In 1992, my wife and I bought a lot to build our dream home on. The lot had several pecan trees that needed shaped and trimmed. I called Dr. Glenn 'Cat' Taylor, (pecan tree specialist) and asked, “Cat, when should I cut the limbs off these trees?”

It was August, hot and dry. Cat said, “What are you doing this afternoon? Now is as good a time as any.”

Wheat producers are asking, “Kim, when should I sell my wheat?” My answer is: “Now is about as good a time as any.” Or you may sell wheat like I pruned the pecan tree. The limbs were removed when I had the time, and it took several months. Those trees now are tall and majestic. If I made any mistakes, nature covered them up. The markets should do the same for you.

For Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, the six-year average (June 2008 through May 2013) price is $6.48. The six-year average June price is $6.48. For the last six years, August, September, October, and November prices have averaged (after adjusting for storage and interest) $6.50. The six-year price spread for the monthly average August through November prices is six cents. This implies that, on the average, selling anytime in June, August, September, October, or November would have netted about the same average price.

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The U.S. supply and demand situation is nearly the same as in 2013/14. Hard red winter wheat stocks are projected to be about 45 percent, and U.S. wheat ending stocks are projected to be 24 percent below the six-year average. During the 2014/15 marketing year, U.S. ending stocks are not projected to change much from the 2013/14 situation.


Ending stocks


Foreign wheat ending stocks are projected to be 6.36 billion bushels compared to a five-year average of 6.28 billion bushels. The world’s wheat supply is projected to be more than adequate and is nearly the same as the 2013/14 wheat marketing year supply and demand situation.

Given that the 2013/14 and 2014/15 wheat marketing year situations are nearly the same, there is reason to believe that prices may follow the same trend. During the 2013/14 marketing year, monthly average prices were June - $7.35; July - $6.93; August - $6.74; September - $6.61; October - $7.11; November - $6.78; and December - $6.26. The monthly average price did get back up to the $6.75 range in March, April, and May.

During the 2013/14 marketing year, June, July, and October were the best times to sell wheat.

At this writing, the cash wheat price is around $7. During the 2013/14 wheat marketing year, average monthly wheat prices (after adjusting for storage and interest) were above $7 only in June ($7.35) and October ($7.11). This and the information above implies that the odds are in favor of selling wheat now rather than later.

United States wheat production is projected to be only about 7.7 percent of the world’s wheat production. Only about 35 percent of the world’s 2014/15 marketing year wheat production has been harvested. The 2014/15 world wheat marketing year production is still uncertain. Thus, wheat prices are uncertain.

When to sell wheat may depend on the amount of price risks a producer can take. If a producer can afford to sell wheat for $6.50 or less, delayed selling and hoping for higher prices may turn out to be the best strategy.

I personally like to sell wheat in increments of one-thirds or one-fourths between June and December. However, looking at the current supply, demand and price situation and past prices, now may be as good a time as any to sell wheat.





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