July 05, 2017 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 349

Corn Higher on Forecasts for Warmer and Drier Weather this Week in the US

Soybeans higher on Technical Buying and Short Covering

Rains in the past 2 days favored S Plains/N Delta; spotty activity C North Dakota into C Minnesota and C & SE Midwest. Showers less than expected in NW Midwest; rains favor Great Lakes/far S Midwest/Delta through Friday. The front now arrives at middle of next week, with N & E Midwest trending wetter; similar placement in 11-15 day. Very low forecast confidence overall right now on Midwest rain placement as models are shifting frequently.


Recent weather model runs suggest the first half of July will be drier than normal across the Corn Belt. This is not necessarily ideal, but the concern is mitigated by the fact that temperatures are unlikely to be excessively warm. Either way, the weather forecast is questionable enough to have corn market-watchers on edge.


The early feel on CBOT grains and soy seems to be higher based on forecasts for warmer and drier weather in the US Midwest and Plains.


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Ships carrying as much as 700,000 tonnes of soybeans are lined up along China’s coast waiting to discharge, traders said, as huge purchases in recent months by the world’s top buyer led to severe congestion and lifted stockpiles to multi-year highs.

The slowdown at the ports and long wait times to clear customs may threaten a recent rally in Chinese soymeal prices and may stir concern about demand from major exporters Brazil and the US.


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

July 03, 2017 | | Views: 604
July 03, 2017 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 346

Wheat Catapulted Higher in the Overnight

Heat and Dry Weather in the Northern Plains

Wheat catapulted higher overnight bringing soybeans and corn along for the ride.


USDA announced the sale of 114,300 MT of corn sold to Mexico of which 22,860 was for 2017/18 and 91,440 is for 2018/19, 120,650 MT of soymeal, to Mexico of which 92,540 MT was for 2017/18 and 28,110 is for 2018/19 and a 140,000 MT sale of wheat to unknown destinations split between hard and soft red wheat for 2017/18 delivery.


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Heat and dry conditions in the Northern Plains continue to be the lightening rod for the spring wheat market. Over the weekend, 3-day rain totals showed little to no moisture over much of SD, ND & MT. The 6 to 10 day forecast shows heat continues to be a feature in the Northern Plains and below normal moisture is expected thru all of the Plains and stretching across the Cornbelt to IL. This will become important for corn where the crop will be going into pollination during this time period.


On Friday, the European Commission its forecast for 2017 cereal production in the European Union following a June heat wave. The Commission reduced its outlook for common wheat usable production, excluding durum, to around 138.9 MMT, from 141.3 MMT last month.


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

June 30, 2017 | Kevin McNew | Views: 474
June 29, 2017 | Kevin McNew | Views: 454
June 29, 2017 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 355

Weekly Export Sales Continue to Show Pathetic New Crop Deals

Spring Wheat Continues to Climb

Grains were higher overnight as spring wheat continued its vertical ascendent to new 3-year highs.


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This morning, Stats Canada released their acreage report showing only 22.4 million acres of wheat vs 23.2 million acres in 2016. The 22.4 million acre number is slightly below trade estimates of 22.7. Also fueling spring wheat this morning was the Drought Monitor which shows 25% of ND is in extreme drought, which is up from 7.7% last week.


Meanwhile, weekly export sales continued to show pathetic new-crop deals for corn and soybeans. Weekly new-crop soybean sales netted only 2,000 MT for the week. Year-to-date export sales for new-crop soybeans are a meager 3.4 MMT well below last year’s total of 7.0 MMT for this time of year. You have to go back to 2006 when new-crop soy sales were this low, but the real concern is USDA has factored in an all-time high for exports in their 2017 balance sheet which could cause soy stocks to balloon in future reports.
























Today will be the last trade date before First Notice Day for the July grain contracts while tomorrow brings two potentially big reports from USDA on Grain Stocks and Acreage.

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

June 28, 2017 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 367

Grains Muted Overnight in Listless Trading

Spring Wheat Continues its Climb

Grains were muted overnight in listless trade except in spring wheat which continued to march higher to its own drumbeat.


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Corn was holding solid gains mid-day on Tuesday but new data from the weather model showed much cooler temps in the Plains and Western Cornbelt than had been previously forecast. That information sent corn prices retreating and they have been unable to muster a rally since.


In Russia, the wheat harvest is underway with yields coming in lower than last year. According to the Ag Ministry as of June 27, farmers had harvested 229,000 tonnes of grain by bunker weight from 54,000 hectares with an average yield of 4.24 tonnes per hectare. This compares to 2.1 million tonnes reaped from 486,000 hectares with an average yield of 4.36 tonnes per hectare at the same date in 2016.


Over the next two weeks weather continues to look fairly favorable for major corn producing states. Nebraska has the most heat in the top 3 states, but even there high temps are expected to only briefly see above 90 degrees. However, rainfall for the two week forecast has been lowered from yesterday’s model in NE showing only 1.5” of rain vs 2.5” yesterday.



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

June 27, 2017 | Kevin McNew | Views: 573
June 27, 2017 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 249

Crop Progress Report Shows Below Expectations for Soybeans and Wheat

July Heat is Expected to Intensify in the Upper Plains

Grains were higher overnight buoyed by lower than expected crop ratings from USDA.


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Monday’s crop progress report from USDA showed crop conditions that were below expectations yet again. Corn conditions came in unchanged at 67% but below analysts estimates which looked for a bump up to 68%. For soybeans, conditions slipped to 66% off of last week’s rating of 67% and below the 68% mark expected. Spring wheat continued to see eroding scores hitting 40%, below expectations of 41% which was the reading last week.


Weather in the US should remain favorable for the rest of the week. But as the calendar turns to July, heat is expected to intensify, especially in the Upper Plains and parts of the Western Cornbelt. Mid next week should bring some 90 degree readings to the heart of the grain belt and the Plains are expected to soar into the 100s for 3 days running.


South Korea's KOCOPIA purchased about 60,000 MT of corn expected to be sourced from South America in a tender which closed on Tuesday, European traders said. Consultancy Strategie Grains cut its forecast for the 2017 French soft wheat crop by 1.6 MMT from its mid-June estimate to factor in damage from a recent hot spell. Laurine Simon said the consultancy now expects France, the EU largest producer of the grain, to harvest 35.6 MMT of soft wheat, against a 37.2 MMT forecast in its monthly report released on June 15.


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

June 26, 2017 | Tech Talk | Greg Martinelli | Views: 8743

CRM: A Love/Hate Relationship - Part 3

Best practices to successfully launch a CRM program in agribusiness

CRM: A Love/Hate Relationship - Part 3

“Why won’t the sales team log customer calls into the new CRM program?”  “Why doesn’t the data in our accounting program match the CRM dashboard?” “How do we make this program more user friendly?” “How do we take advantage of all the “Bells & Whistles” we were promised?” “Why did we buy this program if we’re not going to use it the right way?”

These questions crop up every time you go through a CRM program launch.  Over the course of launching them with three different teams, I can attest that it’s frustrating at first for everyone.  Especially in agribusiness where you have a sales team that works from their home office.  They are in their car most days calling on customers.  “Who has time to turn on a laptop and log a call during the day?” In agribusiness, we also have remote management teams that work from multiple locations.  They too, will struggle to deal with the CRM launch.

In part one, we covered components of CRM you hate.  In part two, we covered components of CRM that you love.  We covered ways that a CRM program helps you become better, faster and more organized for your customers.  Today, we cover best practices on launching and sustaining a CRM program.


Best Practices

  1.  Get Input 

Want buy-in from the field?  Include them in the decision.  Better yet, Beta test several programs with them to see which is best.  Too often, the decision is not made with input.  Then we wonder why we don’t get buy-in from the sales team or first line managers. Make them part of the decision. 


  1. Leadership Commitment

The launch and sustainment of a CRM program starts and ends with the leadership of the company.  They have to be bought in, use it and reinforce the benefits from the program.  Otherwise, it sends the signal that it’s not important and employees will “wait it out” to see if the program will eventually just go away.


  1. Show the Value

Please, don’t come out and tell your team the reason we are launching CRM is in case employees leave the company, we won’t lose all that customer knowledge.  Why do I say this?  Because I’ve heard it said several times.  It gets zero buy-in. That might be a benefit for the company, but the sales and management teams that execute the CRM program don’t see it as an advantage.  That’s what the CRM company told you when they sold you on it.  Instead, promote the advantages of saving time, being more effective in managing their customer, coordinating team efforts to satisfy more customers, etc.


  1. Link Your Accounting Program to the CRM Program

Mentioned previously, this is critical to your team seeing the complete value of the program.  It also saves a lot of time on entering information manually.  By bringing in sales volume and revenue, CRM is current and connected directly to the business performance.


  1. Link Your Processes to the CRM Program

CRM is not just for sales people.  Connect in your marketing and operations teammates.  Have the approval and management of their everyday processes flow through CRM.  Look for other ways that all sides of your business can contribute to the total picture of activities surrounding the customer experience.


  1. Train

Obviously, training during the launch is important.  Most companies have some initial training.  To be effective, you need to lay out a 1 or 2-year plan.  Start with the basics.  Keep it simple.  Reinforce previous lessons before beginning new training.  It has to be hands on or it will be forgotten.  Watching some expert click around on a CRM program is like watching your kids play a video game.  Looks like fun and not too complicated.  They hand you the controls and you have no idea how to play the game. 


  1. Keep It Simple

The first 6 months needs to be very simple:  customer contact information, record of sales calls and a few key dashboard dials.  While the team is gaining confidence with the program, the management team can begin learning the different ways to slice and dice the data for a more complex dashboard.  To do this, it’s critical they get training on how data is uploaded into the CRM program.  For that, I highly recommend one person become the company leader for the program.


  1. A CRM Leader

Depending on the size of the company, you might need more than one person for this role.  There are three functions for the CRM leader.  The first is administrative in nature – working with user ID’s, passwords, access levels, etc.  The second is building the bolt-on components.  The CRM program typically comes as a shell.  You have to build the links and connections from your other programs (accounting, operations, etc.) and bolt them onto the CRM program.  The last function is training and facilitation.  Again, training needs to be ongoing as new people are joining the company and your business changes over time.  The CRM leader plays a critical role in keeping the program functional for the company.  This requires facilitation with all parts of the business.


Several weeks into my third CRM launch, it dawned on me that this scenario plays out in every company that makes that leap to the future with Customer Relationship Management Programs.  As manual methods of organizing customer information are converted over to programs and data is vetted to provide real time information, a typical routine unfolds.  It’s bumpy at first.  Might even cause a few companies to abandon the approach and go back to their previous methods.  However, for those that persist, they will see a clearer and better managed customer relationship.  

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