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April 18, 2018 | Coach’s Corner | Greg Martinelli | Views: 675

Selling the Invisible — Part One

Make the invisible visible in your customer’s terms

Selling the Invisible — Part One

Maybe you sell a service or you sell a micronutrient. Anything that is not an apparently visible product can be difficult to explain or show the value to your customers. Sure, we can see a 50# bag of yeast or a gallon of fungicide.  But that’s all we see, a bag of powder or a jug of liquid. It might as well be a bag of wheat midds and a gallon of water for all the customer knows.  We head out every day and call on customers with the latest slide deck of technical data, charts, graphs and research. Putting our customers to sleep after the fourth slide, we continue on and on because we want them to understand how our product works better than before or better than our competition’s. All the while, sounding just like every other technical sales presentation our customer hears.

If you sell a service, it’s worse. You don’t even have a 50# bag or gallon jug to talk about. So, you jump in with the what and the how of your service. “We do this and we do that. Then we do this!” 

There certainly is a time and place to go over the technical side of our products and to pull out the data. There’s a need to go over the how and what we do as a service. However, I am encouraging you not to lead with this information as we often do. 

Here’s a few thoughts

  1. Make it relatable in your customer’s termsIn a recent article on the importance of export to Iowa agriculture, the author used a great way to explain. I’ll paraphrase the author. She said, “Every 3rd pig and every 4th row of corn raised in Iowa is exported.”  What a great way to explain in a very easy and relatable way for anyone. She simply converted percentages into animals and rows. Our grain producers think in terms of crop rows, acres, bins and truckloads of grain. Animal producers think in terms of animals, pounds of milk/milk tanks and truckloads of finished animals. If you sell to agribusiness operations, the examples are endless. Take the result of your product or service and convert it to your customer’s end product. If you achieve a 10% efficiency with your product or service, then explain it’s like getting 55# for the price of 50 or it’s like getting an extra 10 pallets of feed for every 100 you make. If it’s time, you can say you help them get 26 hours out of every 24-hour day.
  2. “A picture is worth 1,000 words; a video is worth 1,000 pictures but a demo unit is worth 1,000 videos”: We’ve all heard the first part of this quote. However, I’ve added a few extra points to help you sell. Technical slide decks coming from the marketing and research department are great. However, your customer simply doesn’t have the time nor attention span to go through all of them. If they do, they will tell you.  It’s up to you as their salesperson to decipher the vast amount of information into the 45-minute sales meeting they agreed to give you and make it relevant to their farm. Push back on your marketing department to get video or shoot your own video if you can. Some of the best pictures or video in making the invisible visible is Before & After and With & Without. “Here’s a picture of this pen of pigs before our product and here’s a picture after” or “Here’s a soybean field that didn’t use our fungicide and across the road is a field that used our fungicide” If you have been making sales calls for any length of time, you know how proud a producer is of their healthy animals and their good-looking fields. 

A demonstration or demo of your product can be achieved by letting the person see, touch or feel the end product. It could be two ears of corn that show the difference in using your products. It could be a software program or app that the customer can sample how to change the variables to determine how the program works.  It can be a miniaturized sample of whatever result your product or service achieves.  Think of the 55# bag or extra truck of grain. Reach out to your marketing department and see if one of their promo companies could create a demo model to demonstrate this result. 

 Making the invisible visible is easy and fun to do when the creative thoughts start flowing. So, in between your sales calls today, turn off the radio, put down your phone and start thinking about how you can make your invisible products and services come to life for your customer!

Please join me next time in Coach’s Corner as we uncover the power of stories and the Customer Ladder in part 2 of “Selling the Invisible”.

Join us at coach’s corner every other week, where Greg Martinelli offers sales coaching tips for the Ag Sales Professional.

April 18, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 523

May Corn Finds Support on 50-Day Moving Average

Grains Up in the Overnight Session


May corn finds support on the 50 day moving average. Japan allows U.S. corn-based ETBE imports.


Grains Find Overnight Support on Moving Averages

May corn found support at the 50 day moving average. May soybeans turns higher in the overnight. Both 20 day and 50 day moving average are crossing at $10.37 and provide support below current prices. May Chicago wheat find support on 20 and 50 day moving average at $5.495.


Corn Acres Capped?

Winter storms, cold weather and excessive precipitation across the Delta and eastern corn belt has made U.S. fieldwork challenging throughout April. April is on track to be the coldest Midwestern April on record since 1895. Possibility for delay in fieldwork across the Midwest leaves less room available for farmers to plant more corn than forecasted in the march Acreage report.  

Ethanol Trade Win in Japan

Japan announced its decision to allow U.S. corn based Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (ETBE) after reviewing its sustainability policies. The decision allows US Ethanol to contribute up to 44 percent of Japan’s needs. Japan’s annual ethanol demand is around 217 million gallons.



Midwest- A winter storm warning across northern Iowa today is expected to deliver more snow to the region. A winter weather advisory stretches from eastern SD and northeastern NE into southern WI. The 6-10 day weather outlook expects drier than normal conditions across much of the Midwest, with a wetter outlook across ND, SD, NE and Kansas. Temperatures are expected to stay cool.   Delta- The U.S. 1-5 day weather outlook expects the remainder of the week to remain dry weather in the Delta providing some opportunity for fieldwork and allowing for some planting progress. Weekend rain is expected to slow fieldwork in the area before it clears back up in the 6-10 day outlook providing fieldwork opportunities. KCBT Wheat- Rains are expected to bring moisture to the Plains at the end of the week. Rains in the western Plains are expected to continue in the 6-10 day outlook but turn dry again in the southern and eastern Plains.


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April 17, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 405

Grains Firm in the Overnight

May Soybeans Up Five Cents This Morning


Grains firm in the overnight. Planting pace is lagging but no alarms yet. Record soybean crush in month of March. Export Inspections within trade expectations.

Crop Progress

U.S. Corn planting is 3% complete vs five-year average of 5% complete. Spring storm has dumped snow across the Dakotas and upper Midwest delaying prospects for fieldwork and increasing the possibility for significant planting delays in the region. The cold temperatures throughout the Midwest, Plains and Delta will keep soil temperatures below 50 degrees through the weekend. Missouri, Tennessee and Kansas lag behind normal planting pace. Missouri corn planting is 4% complete vs.18% 5 YR Average. Kansas corn planting is 6% complete vs 15% 5 YR Average. Tennessee corn planting is 11% complete vs 16% 5 YR Average.

KCBT Winter Wheat

Winter wheat conditions showed 31% of the crop was rated good-to-excellent which was up 1% from last week. Winter wheat rated poor-to-very poor increased to 37% from 35% LW. Winter wheat is now 9% headed vs a five year average of 10% at this time.  

Rains are forecast to bring central and southern plains precipitation starting Friday and continuing through the weekend. However, the recent weather models have scaled back total precipitation amounts and reduced confidence in the placement.  Precipitation will be beneficial to KCBT wheat, but traders will be left guessing if event will improve or only stabilize crop conditions.

NOPA Crush Report

National Oilseed Processors Association reported a record soybean crush for the Month of March with 171.858 million bushels crushed vs. expectations of 168.247 million bushels. Soyoil stocks were reported at 1.946 billion lbs which was below trade estimates of 1.962 billion lbs.     

Export Inspections

Corn, soybeans and wheat inspections were within trade expectations this week.













*Thousand Metric Tons


China Announces Deposit Requirement on U.S. Sorghum

China Commerce Ministry reported a new deposit requirement by importers of U.S. Sorghum. Importers must make a deposit of 178.6% percent as a result of the probe on U.S. sorghum. China reported that they will continue to investigate U.S. Sorghum to make a final ruling. CHS, Planter’s Grain Co-Operative and J&C Farms were among some of the companies affected by the new deposit requirement.  


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April 16, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 418

Weekend Storm Brings Rain into the North Central Plains

Grains Mixed in the Overnight


Grains mixed in the overnight.  Wheat lower on improved moisture prospects.  Weekend storm brings snow to north central plains


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Weekend Storm

A weekend storm brought 8-16 inches into the north central plains this weekend. The storm also brought 1-3” of rains to the eastern Midwest and Delta. Temperatures dropped into the teens following the storm as far south as Southern Kansas. The potential for freeze damage in southwest Kansas to wheat in the jointing stage has been overshadowed this morning by the forecast for more moisture over the weekend.   


Winter Wheat to Receive Rain

The forecast shows meaningful precipitation will move into the central and southwestern plains starting late this week and into the weekend. The 6-10 day weather outlook improves moisture outlook.  The precipitation will benefit the winter wheat crop and bring moisture to the drought stricken regions of the winter wheat belt.


Buenos Aires Grains Exchange reported Soybean harvest is 23% complete and corn harvest is 24% complete as of the 11th. Showers over the weekend were mostly in Santa Fe and eastern Cordoba. More showers are expected by later this week slowing dry-down and delaying harvest minimally.


Brazil Weather

Precipitation continues to benefit 2nd crop corn in the northern and eastern regions of Brazil. Dryness is developing in Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana and Sao Paulo. Temperatures are expected to increase next week which could add stress to the southern corn region.  


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

April 13, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 433

Weekly Cash Comments

Weekly Cash Commentary for week ending 04/13/2018

Basis levels firmed by 1.9 cents a bushel on beans across the US this week while corn was up marginally on a 0.3 cent improvement.

High water along the rivers continues to escalate barge rates. This week saw barge rates take another step higher, with rates trading at 40 cents a bushel more than normal at this time of year and near the harvest-time peaks we normally see in the fall. Both corn and soy basis was off about 5 cents a bushel at river terminals this week, in spite of strong Gulf gains of 10 and 20 cents a bushel for corn and beans, respectively.


For soybeans, they got some relief as crush facilities were higher on the week, bolstering their basis by 3.2 cents a bushel on average. 40% of the plants had a nickel to dime improvement on the week. Strong crush margins should be the norm for the next 6 months which should keep soy plants bidding aggressively for beans. As for corn plants, they improved by 0.8 cents a bushel. Gains by NE ethanol plants were 2 cents a bushel but ECB states of IN/OH saw more limited gains of only 1-cent a bushel.

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

April 13, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 480

Snow to Hit Upper Midwest through the Weekend

Grains are Down This Morning

China Soy Imports Falter

China's soybean imports fell 10% in March from a year ago. March imports of 5.66 MMT were down from last year's 6.33, but up slightly from last month's 5.42, according to customs data. Imports are expected to increase in coming months as China normally turns to Brazil beans at this point in the season.


Thursday’s Trump Policy Musings

President Trump said on Thursday his administration may allow the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol year-round, which could help farmers by firing up corn demand but faces opposition from Big Oil. Trump administration continues to jockey between oil and corn constituencies as they clash over the nation's bio-fuels policy.  President Trump has directed his top trade and economic advisers to take a fresh look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement he withdrew from in his first week in office. He said he's going to deputize (National Economic Council Chairman) Larry Kudlow and (US Trade Representative) Robert Lighthizer to look at re-entering the TPP negotiations and to take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated.


US Weather

Days 1-5: Snows to hit Upper Midwest (Dakotas & Minnesota) through the weekend, while rounds of rain and thunderstorms in the Midwest/Delta. Planting progress is unlikely to proceed through next week as a result. Frost/freeze expected in S Plains. Temps in the 20s for KS, and sub-freezing temps will stretch into much of OK.

Days 6-10: Colder than normal temps dominate the north central U.S. with a moderate brand of cold across the Midwest. Limited precip over the next 10 days for southern Plains’ Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat crop. Although, overnight model guidance (both GFS & EC) has begun to place a rainfall event somewhere in the vicinity of 20-22 April that could bring rain and thunderstorms to the southern Plains.

Days 11-15: Temps could moderate back to near normal with the very cold anomalies fading away. This should, on its own, be beneficial for plantings which typically begin to ramp up in parts of the southern Midwest by the end of the month. However, precip could be active during this time frame, which could be unfavorable from a planting standpoint. However, model guidance out through this time frame can be highly variable.

French Crops Lagging

Corn sowing is under way, with 1% of the expected area sown by April 9 vs 23% a year earlier. FranceAgriMer estimates 78% of French soft wheat in good/excellent condition, unchanged vs week earlier but below the 89% rating last year.


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

April 12, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 463

Strong Soybean Export Sales

Corn and Soybeans Up This Morning


Strong soybean exports sales. Ethanol production held steady while stocks continue to decline. Argentina purchases US soybeans for the 2nd time this week.

Ethanol Production

Ethanol production declined last week to 1.034 million barrels from 1.038 million barrels. Weekly production was 4.9% above LY. Ethanol production dipped LY through May which means if weekly production holds steady over the next two months we will be back on track to meet the current corn used for ethanol estimate of 5.575 billion bushels. Ethanol stocks declined again this week to 918 million gallons from 942 million gallons LW. Over the last four weeks we have seen a 10% decline in ethanol stocks which is the largest on record over a four week period.

Argentina Purchases U.S. Soybeans

Argentina purchased 120,000 MT of 18/19 soybeans from the U.S. on Wednesday. Argentina made a similar purchase on Tuesday. These sales will show up in next weeks export sales report. The buyer was oilseed processor Vicentin SAIC and shows the impact of the drought in Argentina. These purchases represent the largest imports to Argentina from the U.S. in 20 years and it is likely there will be more to come.  


Weekly Export Sales

Soybean sales beat expectations and were up 74% from the four week average. China accounted for 254,700 MT while unknown destinations accounted for 665,800 MT.  Egypt, Mexico and Taiwan were also present on the buyer list. Soybean exports were only 419,700 MT which was a marketing year low. Corn sales and wheat sales missed expectations. Both corn and wheat sales were 46% below the four week average.















Ukraine Planting Underway

Planting in Ukraine was reported to be 23% complete. Weather is forecast to be favorable for both spring and winter crops. This year 7.4 million hectares of spring grain is expected to be planted, up from 7.3 million hectares last year.


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

April 11, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 532

Trump to Delay any Bio-Fuels Reform

Grains Mixed in the Overnight Session


Soybeans higher in the overnight on lower world carry-out. Abiove increased Brazil production and export estimates. Trump to delay bio-fuel reform. Exporters sell 120,000 metric tons of Soybeans for delivery to Argentina during the 2018/2019 marketing year.-USDA Exporters sell 141,518 metric tons of Soybeans for delivery to Mexico during the 2018/2019 marketing year.-USDA

April WASDE Highlights

Global soybean carry-out was lower than expected with 90.8 MMT vs 92.9 MMT expected. Global wheat carry-out was larger than expected with 271.20 MMT vs 268.16 MMT expected.  Argentina soybean crop estimated at 40 MMT vs. 42.6MMT expected and down from 47 MMT in March. Argentina and Brazil corn production were both about .75MMT below trade expectations.  Little changed in U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat balance sheets.

Abiove Raises Soybean Estimates

Brazil industry trade group Abiove increased their soybean production forecast in Brazil to 117.4 MMT, up 2.4 percent from March. The group increased their export forecast for Brazil soybeans to 70.4 MMT up sharply from 68.1 MMT in 2017. Abiove expects the amount of soybeans crushed in Brazil to increase to 43.2 MMT.

Plains Forecast

The forecast shows an increased chance of precipitation in the central plains late in the 6-10 day, but forecast remains dry in southwestern plains. The latest forecast shows the chance of rain across much of the winter wheat belt, but confidence in the event remains low. Traders are still concerned about dryness in the region.

Brazil Forecast

Forecast is wetter in the 6-10 day forecast with most moisture focusing on the northern growing regions. Dryness is expected to lower soil moisture in southern and central growing region. The longer range forecast shows chances of below normal rainfall in the northern belt of 2nd crop corn for the month of May. There is potential for some crop stress, but rainfall throughout the rest of the belt should be mostly beneficial.  

Argentina Forecast

Showers forecast in 6-10 day forecast for Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Rios will slow corn and soybean dry-down and delay harvest.

Trump Administration to Delay Bio-fuel Policy Reform

Reuters reported this morning that Trump will delay any bio-fuels reform for about three months in an effort to shield the farming sector currently worried about the impacts of a looming trade war.  


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

April 10, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 358

WASDE Report Scheduled for 11 AM CST

Grains Mixed to Down in the Overnight


WASDE report scheduled for 11 AM CST. Wheat conditions decline from LW. Perdue says farmers will be protected. Exporters sell 120,000 MT of Soybeans for delivery to Argentina during the 2018/2019 marketing year.-USDA  Exporters sell 132,000 MT of Soybeans for delivery to China during the 2018/2019 marketing year.-USDA Exporters sell 279,000 MT of Soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2017/2018 marketing year.-USDA


April WASDE Report Expectations

Analysts are expecting corn, soybean and wheat ending stocks to increase from the March WASDE report.  Argentina soybean and corn production estimates are expected to be revised lower due to to unfavorable growing conditions.  Brazil soybean production expected to be revised higher.


Crop Conditions Report

Corn planting is 2% complete nationally. Missouri corn is only 1% complete compared to a four year avg. of 7% complete. Winter wheat rated 30% G/E, down from 32% LW. Winter wheat rated 35% P/VP, up from 31% LW.


Farmers will be protected by Trump

The Agriculture Secretary said on Monday that U.S. farmers will be protected by the Trump administration as rising trade tensions threaten the ag economy.  No details were given by Secretary Perdue, but White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday that the Trump Administration will present a plan shortly.


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

April 09, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 530

US Grains and Stock Market Rally in Overnight Session

Midwest to Remain Cold

China Pushes Back on US Trade War

China said it would be impossible to negotiate under “current circumstances”. The comments come after U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday predicted China would take down its trade barriers, and expressed optimism that both sides could resolve the issue through talks. US grains and stock market rally loses steam overnight after initial optimism Sunday night begins to fade. Exporters sell 232,500 metric tons of Soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2017/2018 marketing year. -USDA


Global Soy Trade Realigning

World buyers are turning to US soybeans as Brazil prices soar. Friday brought fresh biz to the EU of 458,000 MT, one of the biggest deals to that part of the world in recent history. Brazil prices have been red-hot of late, elevating to a $2 per bu premium over the board last week before backing off late week to a $1.70 a bu premium.


Midwest Weather

Dry weather to continue in the Plains while the Midwest to remain cold. Heavy rains of 1 to 3 inches across much of the Delta over the weekend. Temperatures were quite cold over the weekend across the central U.S., but warmer weather is expected later this week. Another round of cold will return by the weekend, however, which will likely delay corn planting and germination. No improvement is expected in the Plains wheat areas over the next 10 days as dry weather continues.


Cold Snap Hits Wheat Belt

Temperatures plummeted across the Plains on Saturday morning, with lows ranging from the low to mid 20s across northwestern Texas to the single digits across far northern Kansas and Nebraska. Temperatures broke daily records across most of the Plains wheat areas, in some cases by very large margins. Temperatures were not quite cold enough across Texas to cause damage to the wheat crop, but some spotty damage was possible in western Oklahoma and portions of central and western Kansas, where some of the crop is beginning to joint and temperatures dropped into the teens.  Much warmer weather prevailed yesterday and damaging cold is not expected over the next 10 days.  

Tender Action Overnight

South Korea’s MFG Feed Group bought 125,000 MT of optional origin corn. Australia was the lowest offer for Iraq’s 50,000 MT wheat. US wheat was $30/MT higher than Aussie wheat.


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

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