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  • USDA reports yield just a murmur on grain markets

  • The grain harvest rally is on… for now

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Marlin Clark Results

The silly season is upon us

Thursday, December 31, 2009

In NASCAR the so-called “silly season” is that period at the end of the year when teams are realigning. Drivers are going to other teams, teams are changing leadership or swapping drivers. People are hired, fired. Everyone knows this next year is the year. Just ask the Cubs or, for that matter, the Indians. Silly […]

Grain market turns back south

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Last week we looked at charts, trying to find signals of direction. Well, we know more about direction now. Corn prices broke sharply on the Chicago Board of Trade this week for no particular reason I can think of. That should give you confidence that you are not wasting your time reading this! Actually, the […]

I call it ‘the rearview mirror’ grain market

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It is hard to get a handle on where markets are going these days. The easiest method, with the least recriminations when you are wrong, is to look in the rearview mirror.

Grain harvest struggles to its conclusion

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When prices go up and down, sometimes without reason, we call it “volatile.” When we can explain it, we describe cycles and retracements and corrections. We have a basket full of adjectives to describe the chicken-entrail sketching on our charts. This market we just describe as erratic.

Crop harvest drags into Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

USDA released the Sunday night Crop Progress Report Monday after the close, and it was not pretty. Harvest still drags on, and rain coming into the Midwest this week will not help. Thanksgiving will come and go with corn, and even soybeans, still in the fields. One of the biggest traditions of my youth was […]

Slow crop harvest, but a fast market

Thursday, November 5, 2009

December corn futures gained 9 cents in the last five minutes of trade Monday. Traders seemed to be reacting to fears of lack of harvest progress. USDA released new harvest numbers after the close that seemed to confirm the bullishness. December futures had a 24-cent range from high to low Monday. We had a spike […]

Grain markets: Are we swimming into new crop?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There has been a lot of grain market volatility to confuse things. One day, we were up 4 cents and the next down 4 cents. The optimist says we are going higher, the pessimist says we are going lower, and the realist says the market did nothing for those two days.

The squirrel and the ‘possum: A story of American agriculture

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I have had bird feeders close to the house for 35 years. The bear tore them down a couple of times a few years ago, and we had to stop feeding for a month. Other than that we have always fed a herd of a few hundred “livestock” as I call them. Regular customers Most […]

Grain markets: Low prices, but more demand

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two old axioms of the grain trade cropped up in conversations last week. One is that a big crop keeps getting bigger. The other is that the cure for low prices is low prices.

Grain marketing rules have changed

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We can’t go back to the markets of 2008.

Harvest creeps closer, but will weather hit crops first?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Many questions remain as we approach the end of the crop year. Not the least of these is: What size crop do we have?

Grain markets are poised for a pop

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

USDA will release the Supply and Demand Report Wednesday, and, as usual, it represents an untimely truth for this grain market columnist. I write this on Monday before the market opens, and the reader gets this Thursday, after the report and after some market reaction to it. The numbers Monday, the markets were sharply mixed, […]

Corn leads grain markets higher

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For the first time in a long time, corn has had days as the leading grain on the Chicago Board of Trade. That is to say, some days the gains in corn were more than the gains in wheat or soybeans. Some days, the beans matched the corn, but with a higher-priced commodity where the […]

Hoping for a hat rack grain market

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday’s market (June 30), we’re in a “hat rack” market — we’re looking look for some kind of market news to “hang our hat on.”

Big crops, big disappointment

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prices have broken sharply on the Chicago Board of Trade the last few days. The perception of a good crop and outside markets continue to ravage what was a welcome rally. Monday trading was an example of how bad it gets when the speculators run out on the market. Soybeans were down 27 1/2 cents […]

New highs, same whys

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Corn, beans and wheat have made new recent highs on the Chicago Board of Trade this week, but there is no surprise. Price discovery The same factors that have pushed prices the last month continue to effect the ideas in Chicago of price discovery. Price discovery is the term the grain trade uses for finding […]

Grain markets: It was a quick trip from cry to dry

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Now is the spring of our discontent. Now, we are starting to talk about how dry it has gotten. Now, we are wishing we had not poked seed into mud that might crust over it.

My weekend crop tour was ugly

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I put in 750 miles in Ohio and Michigan over the weekend, and I was amazed how far behind we are in reality. Yes, the Planting Progress Report from USDA said Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are the problem with the U.S. being so far behind, but looking at miles of northwest Ohio bare as far […]

The Age of Aquarius (for one day on the grain markets)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The planets are aligning this morning in a manner that will be easier to interpret by the end of the day. Unfortunately, I have to write this on Tuesday morning, not Tuesday evening. The planets are aligning, or even colliding, in the form of the USDA Planting Progress Report, out Monday afternoon, and the USDA […]

Grain market: Corn crashes, but beans hang on

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Corn prices crashed on the Chicago Board of Trade the last week, even as soybeans tried to hang on to recent highs.


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