I was at an event last week, and I was talking to a chap about grain marketing. His view was ‘If you hold your wheat until July, you always win’.
I’m not convinced. Markets are not massively complicated, but they are also not that simple. There is never any grain sales strategy which works year in, year out. What do the numbers tell us?
The chart below shows the change in price from January to July. Firstly, not every year shows an increase, so it’s not always a winner to hold until July.
It is important to note that there have been some pretty spectacular rises (2012, 2017 & 2018), which would have provided some massive rewards to those holding.
The reality is that it’s not just as simple as always winning; there are years of losses. However, the overall price change has actually been beneficial for holding – at 3-5%, depending on the zone.
So yes, technically, if you take a long-term approach holding grain until July has provided a small benefit*, if you can stomach the swings.
I believe it is generally worthwhile tranching grain sales into pre, during and post-harvest periods. However, it is valuable to think of the fundamentals which could lead to the market rising – not just hoping for it.
As an example, this year, we still have the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which by all accounts, seems like it may intensify in the coming months. There is a lot of uncertainty – which is one reason to hold onto a bit. However, don’t hold on just because ‘it always rises’, because that doesn’t hold true.
*NB this does not include the cost of carry.