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Dead cat bounce continues

Being
a retired farmer, I should be looking at the calendar and relaxing a bit now
that the  2011 harvest is in the bin and
fall field work pretty much all done. Being a no-till operator, my post harvest
operations go very fast. This year most of it consisted of disking the river
bottom field that was under water all summer. Fortunately I was able to avoid
getting stuck in the sand left by the river overflow.

With the excellent weather, the
custom operator got the mixed fertilizer applied and next year’s soybean field
sprayed for winter annuals. What is really needed now are a couple of inches of
rain before the ground freezes. Excavation for a new septic system at our
rental house revealed dry soil all the way to the bottom of a four foot trench.
Maybe we will get that moisture this weekend.

Markets are usually boring and less
hectic this time of year. That is not the case today. The dead cat bounce in
soybean prices has been especially frustrating. After one of the sharpest
rallies in history off the harvest low in early October, futures prices trended
lower with occasionally short, sharp rallies that were not large enough to
erase previous losses. As of Thursday’s close the cash price was still above
the October low by 25 cents. So the bounce continues. It could end with less
than one day’s market action.

 Corn seems to have the best
fundamentals of the grains but likewise has not been able to mount a sustained
rally. Negative psychology caused by uncertainty in the world economy and
weakness in outside markets had led to wild price swings in all of the markets.
The prospect for that situation to change any time in the near future is poor
at best.

 Long-term seasonal price charts show
soybean prices weak until the middle of February. Corn futures are normally flat
during the same period with higher prices the result of basis improvement and
carry in futures. Most of my beans are sold with the balance in commercial
storage. The corn is stored at home with orders above the market to sell on the
way up.

 For the next week I will be
preoccupied with planning for this season’s marketing workshops. Organization
of the programs is complicated by the retirement of Doug Jose from the University
of Nebraska. He had been
with the program since the original “Winning the Game” series since the 1990’s.
Coordinating a team that has members from a 400 mile radius has some special
challenges. It will also be made more difficult by the fact that I will be
having surgery on my hand the week after next. I look forward to being part of
a series of meetings designed to explore seasonal price trends and how to use
them in making a marketing plan. I also look forward to relief from the pain
from “basal joint arthritis” which has been bothering me for more than a year.

 My experience and on farm research
at my farm have shown the validity of using seasonal price patterns as a tool
in making grain sales. The team from UN-L Extension and the Nebraska Soybean
Board will have a computer simulation game to reinforce the knowledge developed
in many years of research on implementing marketing plans. Watch for publicity
on times and locations of these workshops after January 1.

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