ARTICLES BY AL KLUIS
3 steps to manage grain market risk in 2014 By: 03/05/2014 @ 11:50am

The extreme price moves the last two years have given me two textbook examples of how my three-step risk-management plan works. I learned a lot about margin calls and rolling up put options in 2012. In 2013…

Have grain prices hit bottom? Many say yes. By: 02/03/2014 @ 1:17pm

When the corn market dropped under $4.20, the phone rang at least twice per week -- sometimes daily -- with a farmer who said, “I read on the Internet that corn futures would drop below $3.00 per bushel by…

Get ready for a demand-driven market By: 12/18/2013 @ 7:45am

What a difference 19 months can make. In August 2012, corn futures rallied to $8.44 per bushel. Then after two years of global crop problems, farmers in North America and South America had great crops in 2013…

Hedges or puts: 4 rules for better decisions By: 11/06/2013 @ 9:18am

A farmer asked two excellent questions at a marketing seminar last winter. I, along with another instructor, researched the answers. Now they have become part of one of the option classes in the Successful…

Your Profit: Watch South America By: 11/05/2013 @ 7:51am

U.S. farmers had another challenging crop-production season in 2013. This created a lot of volatility in the spring when planting delays threatened corn yields and in late summer when a drought took its toll…

Three signals grain lows are in By: 10/22/2013 @ 9:20am

The long-term grain price cycles I work with and my analysis of grain fundamentals both suggest major lows in the fourth quarter of 2013 or the first quarter of 2014. Let me explain.I have charted and watched…

Add $50/acre to your bottom line By: 09/04/2013 @ 10:25am

Farming has changed a lot in the 38 years that I’ve been writing about marketing grain. Before the Internet, you didn’t have GPS or autosteer on your farm equipment, but you’ve quickly adapted to new…

Stay aware of global grain risk By: 08/19/2013 @ 9:13am

There are a lot of factors that impact grain prices. The fundamental factors -- the supply and demand of grain -- have always been obvious and easy to understand. For example, when the weather turns hot and…

Long-term grain price cycles By: 05/08/2013 @ 11:50am

Before I even started my presentation at a seminar last winter, a young farmer came up to the podium and quietly asked, “How much lower can it go? Will it ever come back?” He was very nervous that day. He…

Will 2013 be similar to 2005 or 2009? By: 04/05/2013 @ 10:03am

I use a combination of analytic tools when working on price projections for the year. I study fundamentals, long-term chart cycles, and something called analog years. When I study analog years, I look for…

Get ready for volatile grain markets By: 03/20/2013 @ 12:19pm

In the 30-plus years that I have traded corn and soybean futures, I have never seen such bullish and bearish price potential at the same time. It will take a disciplined approach to make the right grain…

Fine-tune your 2013 marketing plan By: 03/04/2013 @ 10:03am

The last four years in this column, I have recommended using a three-step risk-management plan for a complete income protection strategy for your farm.December 2013 CBOT CornHere are the three steps that you…

Choose the appropriate strategy By: 02/14/2013 @ 10:10am

I enjoy teaching at the Lafayette Trading Academy (LTA), where I get the chance to work one-on-one with the farmers who attend. The students, mainly farmers, are anxious to learn more about grain marketing and…

February is weather market month By: 02/04/2013 @ 10:04am

February used to be a good month to take a week or two off, if you were in the grain business. For most of the last three decades, prices would usually grind lower in low-volume range-bound trade. Since 2005…

Grain fundamentals remain important By: 01/11/2013 @ 10:32am

At a recent webinar, a farmer asked, “Why do you even look at grain fundamentals? Do they even matter anymore?” I said that I thought they were still important because they do impact long-term price…

9 biggest futures changes in 30 years By: 12/05/2012 @ 9:33am

At a fall seminar, a young farmer asked, “What are the biggest changes that you've seen in the futures industry in the years that you've been trading?” This was a tough question to answer on the…

Harnessing volatility By: 11/16/2012 @ 11:04am

This was a volatile year for corn and soybean farmers, with corn and soybean prices soaring to new all-time highs. The grain markets went higher, as global demand kept increasing, and we had a drought for…

Seasonal price patterns still work By: 11/01/2012 @ 10:03am

Corn prices have rallied higher later in the year in the last five years. Shift your new-crop selling from March-June over to April-July. March, which used to be a good selling month, is now usually a time to…

Marketing rules for success in 2013 By: 10/01/2012 @ 10:23am

This year challenged everything about marketing I thought I knew. Nothing worked – not hedging ahead, not seasonal selling, not scale-up selling. I wish I had just harvested it and put it in my bin.” This…

Drought sets up 2013 prices By: 09/05/2012 @ 9:51am

My phone rang continually when the grain markets turned sharply higher in early July. The terrible drought dropped 2012 yield and profit prospects for many farmers across the Corn Belt this summer. It was…

Your 2012 and 2013 marketing plans By: 08/01/2012 @ 10:23am

As I wrapped up the 2011 cash sales in the last two months, I have focused most of my efforts on fine-tuning my marketing plan for the 2012 crop. I am also working on my 2013 plan and have begun looking at…

Your midsummer market review By: 07/06/2012 @ 9:59am

I need help with my marketing. Every corn and soybean sale I make has gone against me,” was the first comment from a farmer at a seminar in early April in western Minnesota. He wanted to know how I could…

New approach to crop marketing By: 05/03/2012 @ 1:55pm

In the last four years, I have recommended a three-step risk-management plan that suggests: 1. Buying RP crop insurance. (The right policy is a complex decision that you should work with a qualified crop…

Your long-term marketing plan By: 04/04/2012 @ 10:36am

It's a long time until you plant the crop in 2013, a longer time until you harvest it, and a still longer time until you have to sell it. You have the 2012 and 2013 weather scares to get December 2013…

Watch global market factors By: 03/20/2012 @ 11:10am

I have traded the grain markets for 37 years. The markets have changed dramatically since 2005, and how I now trade and how I approach the grain markets have also changed dramatically. For farmers, the ways…

Create a marketing plan for 2012 By: 03/05/2012 @ 11:29am

U.S. corn yields have dropped below the long-term trend line the last two years. Odds of another poor crop in 2012 are very small. A large increase in acres and a good crop could take prices substantially…

Use a weather scare to make sales By: 02/16/2012 @ 10:38am

What were the major events that created price movement in 2011? And can you forecast any events – negative or positive – that will drive prices in 2012?” Those were the first two questions that were…

Do not panic during Euro debt crisis By: 01/30/2012 @ 2:11pm

Most likely the 2012 corn yield will end up between 145 and 165 bushels per acre. Odds favor a better-than-trendline yield in 2012. And with 95 million acres, we could end with a large crop and lower prices by…

Wheat prices pull corn and beans lower By: 01/11/2012 @ 10:38am

Since May 2011, the projected global ending stocks of wheat have increased by over 800 million bushels. This has dropped global and U.S. wheat prices by over $2 per bushel and pulled corn and bean prices lower…

Do better in 2012 By: 12/06/2011 @ 9:57am

As harvest wrapped up across the Corn Belt this fall, farmers went in to meet with their accountants, bankers, and tax advisers. Some farmers then went to buy seed, fertilizer, and equipment in order to manage…

Finalize 2011 marketing plan By: 08/30/2011 @ 2:54pm

This has been a year of records in the corn and soybean markets. Corn went to a record high of $7.99¾, corn futures have traded limit up or limit down a record 35 times this year, and the current USDA…

The three M's of marketing By: 07/27/2011 @ 2:48pm

I conducted a marketing and technology survey with some of the farmers I worked with this spring. I got several questions and had a huge response with a lot of good suggestions.One question was, “What is the…

Al Kluis: Long-Term Lows Are Due This Fall By: 06/28/2011 @ 11:00pm

Watch for a harvest low. “Do your chart patterns work when you have earthquakes, tsunami, and a nuclear melt­down?” was the first question from a nervous farmer before the meeting even started. The…

Al Kluis: 5 factors that created the grain market rally By: 04/04/2011 @ 11:00pm

2011 Corn: July - December Spread Did you forecast grain prices to go this high last year? What caused it?” These were the first two questions from a farmer at a seminar in Colorado this winter. The…

Al Kluis: Creating a marketing plan for 2011 By: 02/27/2011 @ 11:00pm

“Making crop insurance decisions and marketing decisions are a lot harder than they were five years ago when prices were a lot lower.” This was the comment I got from a young lady at a meeting in central…

Al Kluis: Fine-tune your marketing plan By: 02/13/2011 @ 11:00pm

Anxiety levels are going up.  Even with the recent rally to $6 corn and $14+ soybeans, farmers are more worried than ever about cash rents, grain prices, and operating margins. In 2006, my typical…

Al Kluis: Using a market advisory service By: 01/25/2011 @ 11:00pm

I have been providing farmers with advice and recommendations for 36 years. The products I offer and how I communicate with farmers have changed dramatically the last five years. How farmers use market…

Al Kluis: Crop revenues increase to record levels By: 01/11/2011 @ 11:00pm

In the 36 years I’ve been working with farmers, I have finally figured out what most crop producers want each year: They want a big crop and a big price. But that’s rarely happened. That’s because…

Al Kluis: Looking into the future By: 12/14/2010 @ 11:00pm

“Will you use those seasonal patterns to make cash and new-crop sale recommendations after this year? It did not work real good in 2010.” That was the question and comment from a farmer in western…

Al Kluis: Risk management... Control your bottom line By: 11/17/2010 @ 11:00pm

How can you have a market plan that works for you when commodity funds can run prices dramatically higher than they should go and then lower than you would imagine? Like this year when corn futures dropped to…

Al Kluis: 3 possible price scenarios By: 11/09/2010 @ 11:00pm

This question was asked by a farmer at a grower meeting in Quincy, Illinois: Can the grain markets keep moving higher right into harvest, when the rest of the U.S. economy is moving lower? Here was my short…

Al Kluis: 2011 acreage battle starts now By: 10/25/2010 @ 11:00pm

The combination this year of record demand from China and the worst drought in 1,000 years in Russia has dramatically changed the global grain fundamentals. As a result, wheat futures soared by over $4 per…

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