March 23, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 203

As Trade Tensions Mount, China Soybean Buyers Devise Contingency Plans

Grains down in the overnight session


Grains lower in the overnight. Trump signs $60 Billion tariff memorandum.

China threatens 25 percent duty on pork products. Congress passes omnibus spending bill. Export sales on the lower side of expectations.


U.S. Import Tariffs

On Thursday, Trump signed a Memorandum that could impose tariffs on $60 billion of imports from China. There will be a 30 day consultation period once the list of Chinese goods are published.  US Grains council expresses concern that the tariffs will trigger a “painful retaliation against U.S. agriculture.” On Friday China declared plans to levy additional duties on U.S. imports valued at around $3 billion including a 25 percent duty on pork products. Soybeans were not included in the list of U.S. products.  


Omnibus Spending Bill

Congress passes $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. Omnibus spending bill included changes to Section 199A of the President's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which was better known as the “Grain Glitch”. Omnibus spending bill reduced the deduction by the lesser of either 9% of farmers income from sales to a coop or 50% of wages attributed to those sales.



Showers over the weekend concentrated in northeastern and southern regions.

Dryness is expected to continue in central and western crop region. The 6-10 day forecast turns dry again. Buenos Aires exchange cut its forecast for 2017/18 soybean production to 39.5 MMT from 42 MMT. (USDA @ 47 MMT). The exchange cut its corn production forecast for 2017/18 to 32 MMT from 34 MMT previously. (USDA @ 36 MMT)



Rains in the west central and northwestern crop regions in the 1-5 day outlook helping the second corn crop. The 6-10 day forecast continues to bring beneficial showers, but will slow soybean harvest in the far south. Brazil soybean harvest is 58% complete, ahead of the five year average of 55%. Second corn crop planting has reached 92% complete ahead of five year average of 90%.


Export Sales

Wheat sales were down 63 percent from LW Corn sales were on the low side of expectations and down 41 percent from LW. New optional origin sales were reported for South Korea totaling 278,000 MT. Soybean sales were also on the low side of expectations, down 40 percent from LW.  















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

March 21, 2018 | Coach’s Corner | Greg Martinelli | Views: 473

Sell More by Telling Better Stories

Stop the data dumping approach and try the Hero’s Journey Method to make more sales

Sell More by Telling Better Stories

We all love to sell based on data, facts, ROI, results, etc.  We rationalize that our customer wants to know the facts.  They want us to get down to business and explain our products and how valuable they are.  Unless they are 4 years old, none of them will tell you to, “Tell me a story.”  But, here’s the thing.  They really do want to hear a good story.  In addition, they will remember the story long after your data laden handout material is tossed in a filing cabinet.

Think of it this way.  Every sales person calling on your customer has data, proof of performance information, ROI charts, and the list goes on.  I’m not saying you don’t need data.  You do.  The problem is your customer will soon forget the charts and the numbers.  They merge into all the other information he received from all the other vendors in your category.

What to do?  How do I differentiate?  How do I stand out in the sea of data?  Tell a good story! But, it needs to structured.  Effective selling stories aren’t just amusing anecdotes or just fun to know stories.  They have structure and exemplify your point.  Learning to weave a good story into your selling process will set you apart from your competition.  Why? Because our brains are wired to remember in pictures, not numbers.  Think back to the last purchase you made which you feel really good about.  I’ll bet you remember the event in the format of a scene or setting and not in a table or chart with numbers. 

One method of good story telling is to use the Hero’s Journey.  Hollywood has been using it forever and we love it.  Just about every good movie will follow this format of storytelling.  The Hero’s Journey has several key components or steps.

The Hero’s Journey

1. Peace

In our opening scene, our hero is living a great life and all is peaceful.  In a sales situation, we tell a story of one of our past customers.  You explain how they too thought everything was fine.  They didn’t want to use your product or make a change either.  Then….

2. Call to adventure (change)

Something happened that changed their world.  In Hollywood movies, this is the earthquake, flood, attack from the bad guys or a death of someone close to our hero.  It thrusts our hero into action.  In Ag sales, this is out of control weeds, sudden death loss of animals, poor production during tough times (like now), etc.  Now our hero is forced to change. But….

3. Refusal and Failure

The hero still refuses to change.  This causes the bad to get worse.  In Hollywood, this is the part of the story where the bad guys get even stronger and do more bad things.  It appears there is no stopping them.  In our ag selling story, this might be the part where our hero faces financial ruin or the weeds kill the whole crop or they have to depopulate the entire swine barn, etc.  Failure is imminent.

4. The Turning Point

Our hero finally decides to fight back and change.  They try a few things and maybe fail.  Maybe this is where they tried a competitor’s product, but it didn’t get them the promised results.  Then they tried your products and saw the value.  They saw how it solved their weed problem, their animal death loss situation.

5. Success

With this new-found power, our hero journeys into the belly of the beast and defeats the bad guys.  In our ag sales story, this is the part where your past customer applied your products to the entire farm and had great success with it.  If you have to, this is the part where you can show a few numbers.  But try to stay in the story mode and not jump into the data. 

6. The Return

After defeating the bad guys, our hero returns home and all is right in the world.  Peace and tranquility are restored.  In our ag sales story, this is the part where you explain how you have a long running relationship with the customer in the story.  You became a trusted advisor and even best friends.  You golf together on weekends and ……

This format of storytelling has worked for Hollywood for over 100 years and it will work for you.  Think of all the great movies, and you will see the hero’s journey.  So, stop the data dumping approach to your selling process and try the Hero’s Journey Method of storytelling.  If they want the data, they will ask for it. 

You think your customer just wants to make a profit because that is what they tell you.  But in reality, they want to be seen as the hero in their company.  The Luke Skywalker that defeats Darth Vader.  The Superman who overcomes adoption on an alien planet.  The Forest Gump that has a meaningful life. Or Tom Hanks in almost any movie.  And the list goes on.  Show your customer how they too can be the hero with your product.

March 20, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 282

Midwest Rain and Snow Next 10 Days will Benefit Wheat

Grains Steady in the Overnight


Strong corn export inspections.

Grains hold steady in overnight



Ag Exports at Risk

U.S Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue said on Monday that Ag exports could be at risk in retaliation over the latest tariffs.

Steel and aluminum tariffs go into effect this week.

In response to U.S metal tariffs the EU has prepared a 10 page list of U.S. products valued at roughly $3.45 billion dollars that may be subject to tariffs.

Trump administration is preparing tariffs against Chinese information technology, telecommunications and consumer products.    



Dry weather continues to stress corn and soybean crop this week.

The latest weather model still suggests another rain event this weekend.

Rain event should favor northern production regions of Argentina.

Confidence remains low that the event will produce meaningful precipitation across the most drought stricken growing areas.



Showers in west-central Brazil. Conditions remain very positive for corn and soybean development.


Winter Wheat Conditions

State winter wheat conditions released on Monday did not factor in the rains over the weekend in Kansas.

Precipitation over the last 18 hours brought .12” to .16” inches to much of central Kansas with the heaviest accumulation in eastern Kansas (.42” to 1.28”).

Forecast expects dry weather across plains for remainder of the week, but rains to benefit south eastern third of the wheat belt next week.

KS winter wheat conditions rated good to excellent was 11 percent. The report showed an increase in poor to very poor to 55 percent from 53 percent last week.

Oklahoma wheat rated good to excellent lowered to 5 percent from 7 percent last week. Oklahoma’s poor to very poor wheat rating declined to 66 percent from 72 percent LW.

Texas winter wheat conditions report lowered good to excellent ratings to 10 percent from 13 percent LW. The report also increased wheat rated poor to very poor to 60 percent from 53 percent last week.  


Weekly Export Inspections














Export inspections were strong for wheat and corn but missed expectations for soybeans.

With the pace of export sales it will become increasingly important for corn inspections to maintain a strong volume each week to meet the rapid pace of bookings.


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

March 19, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 205

Rains in Argentina Over the Weekend

Grains Down This Morning


Wheat sharply lower after KS precipitation

Corn lower after rains fall in Argentina  




KC Wheat Region

A narrow band of rain fell from northwestern Kansas toward south central Kansas late this weekend bringing between .5 and 1 inch of precipitation.   

Rain and snow is still falling in Western Kansas.

The latest weather forecast shows chances of additional weather systems into the plains in late March and early April.  



Rains fell in Argentina over the weekend, but topsoil moisture improvements were limited to a small region from southern Cordoba to Northern Buenos Aires.

Other areas throughout the Pampas and Northern Argentina were left relatively dry. Some area received light rain, but was unable to bring meaningful increases to the topsoil moisture.

There is a chance for more rains this weekend but confidence remains low that it will produce a drought reducing rain event.


AgRural reported that 58 percent of soybeans have been harvested in Brazil which is ahead of the five year average (55% harvested) but behind last year (62% harvested).

AgRural reported that 92 percent of second crop corn has been planted which is above the five year average (90% planted), but behind last years planting pace (96% planted).


Commitments of Traders- Week ending March 13th

Managed money (MM) increased their net long position in Corn by 69,529 to 233,063.

MM increased their net long soybean position by 24,489 to 208,200.  

MM increased their net short SRW wheat position to -35,584 from -32,531.

MM increased their net long KC wheat position to 28,946 from 20,759.

MM increased their net long HRS position to 1,240 from 1,187.  


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

March 16, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 123

Weekly Cash Comments

Weekly Cash Commentary for week ending 03/16/2018

US average corn and soybean basis was mostly unchanged this week, but there were big differences across the country depending on proximity to the rivers.


For corn, the river markets were hit hard with 8-cent losses on average tied to a dime discount at the Gulf export market.  Barge rates did manage to move lower this week as flooding concerns waned and barge movement started to improve. For beans the draw-down in basis was less noticeable with river terminals down 4 cents on average and the Gulf down 8 cents.

End users of grain were mostly steady this week. However, there were modest improvements in the Central and Northern Plains. Corn Plants in SD improved basis on average by 2 cents a bushel.


With corn futures backing down this week we would expected to see basis levels start to firm. End buyer demand across livestock, exports and processing is rock solid so with spring fieldwork around the corner the next few weeks could be important to keep pipelines full.


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

March 16, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 106

Corn Heading Lower for a Third Straight Session

NOPA Crush Beats Expectations


NOPA Crush beats expectations

Corn export sales at record pace

Rosario Grains Exchange lowers production est again




Weather forecast unchanged with rain expected this weekend.  

Rosario Grains Exchange lowered its Argentina corn and soybean production estimates.  

Soybean production estimate revised to 40 MMT from 46.5 MMT. (Mar USDA @ 47 MMT)

Corn production estimate revised to 32 MMT from 35 MMT. (Mar USDA @ 36 MMT)



Weather forecast unchanged with scattered showers causing some fieldwork delays until next Wednesday.

Rio Grande do Sul which has been dry is expected to get precipitation over the weekend and into Tuesday.


NOPA Crush Beats Estimates

NOPA February crush beat expectations on Thursday by reporting that members processed 153.719 million bushels of soybeans in February compared to analyst estimates of 149.443 million bushels.

This is the largest February crush on record with the next closest February in 2010 when 148.351 million bushels were crushed.

Large February crush was driven by unexpectedly strong processing margins triggered by drought in Argentina.    

Soyoil stocks increased to 1.856 billion pounds compared to analysts estimates of 1.766 bln lbs.   


Weekly Export Sales

The latest export sales report on Thursday showed the strongest weekly corn sales for a single marketing year in 23 years.

U.S corn export sales are expected to stay strong into the summer as drought in Argentina limits competition.

Brazil corn exports don’t typically come on line until August when second crop corn is harvested. JBS recently purchased Argentina corn to import into Brazil.  

Argentina corn offers are currently $3.50 per metric ton over the U.S. Gulf and Ukraine corn is offered $17.50 per ton higher.  

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

March 15, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 75

Corn Export Sales Were Huge This Week

Grains Up in the Overnight Session


NOPA Crush numbers scheduled for release at 11 CST

Marketing year high for corn export sales!

Ethanol production declines; while stocks jump


Yesterday’s rains fell in NE Santa Fe and Corrientes.  

Weekend rains are expected to cover 60 percent of crop producing regions.

Precipitation is expected to have limited impact on yield recovery given the late stages of development.


More showers today across Brazil are expected to slow fieldwork through next Wednesday.

Rains expected in Brazil’s far southern region of Rio Grande Do Sul today providing some much needed moisture to that area.

NOPA Crush Expectations

NOPA February crush is expected to show that 149.443 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in February.

Analysts expect soyoil stocks to be reported at 1.766 bln lbs.   

Ethanol Production

Weekly ethanol output declined 32,000 barrels per day to 1.03 million bpd and was 1.9 percent below this week last year.

The surprise increase in corn used for Ethanol in the March WASDE report means that weekly production will have to run 3.2 percent ahead of last year from now until the end of August.

Weekly ethanol stocks increased to 24.28 million barrels from 23.144 mln bbls last week.

Ethanol stocks are now 6.7 percent above LY during this time.

Weekly Export Sales

Wheat sales fell 58 percent from LW and is down 47 percent below the four week average.

Corn export sales were huge this week, recording a marketing year high of 2.5 million metric tons sold.

Major buyers included 838,000 MT to Japan, 388,600 MT to Taiwan, 206,800 to S. Korea and 197,900 to Mexico.  

Soybean sales were down 49 percent from last week but still managed to beat analyst expectations.


Weekly Export Sales-














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

March 14, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 45

Weekend Rains to Favor E Argentina

Wheat Down in the Overnight Session


CME increases corn and soybean margins



Two precipitation events are expected in Argentina through Monday.

Strongest precipitation is expected to occur in the northeast.

The precip events have potential to be widespread and provide some meaningful moisture to Buenos Aires, southern Entre Rios and Southern Santa Fe.    

Argentine President announced that there will be some debt relief for farmers who have endured this years fierce drought.  



More showers today across Brazil are expected to slow fieldwork.

FC Stone forecast 17/18 cotton area to increase to 1.183 million hectares. The company expects some Mato Grosso farmers to switch to cotton from corn due to favorable return prospects


Winter Wheat Crop Conditions

Latest GFS weather model suggested increased precipitation between March 23rd and March 25th in the Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas.

Although the latest run of the weather model suggests a possibility of rain, weather forecasters say there is still “low confidence” this event will bring meaningful moisture into the areas of extreme drought.   


CME Raises Margin Requirements

CME raises margin requirements for corn to $600 per contract from $550. Soybean margins were increased to $1,400 per contract from $1,300 per contract.

NOPA Report Expectations

NOPA crush report scheduled for March 15th. Analysts are expecting to see total February crush to be reported at 149.443 million bushels.

Analysts are expecting soy oil stocks to be reported at 1.766 billion pounds.


FranceAgriMer Cuts SRW Stocks and Exports

The organization cut their estimates for French 17/18 SRW wheat export estimates to 8.5 MMT from 9 MMT.

French SRW wheat ending stocks were revised to 3.2 MMT from 3.25 MMT.

French 17/18 corn ending stocks were also revised lower to 2.7 MMT from 2.8 MMT in last months estimates.


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

March 08, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 292

March WASDE Report Due Out Today

Grains Pare Overnight Losses


Grains pare overnight losses after strong export sales.

March WASDE report due out at 11 AM CST

Exporters sell 110,000 metric tons of Corn for delivery to Japan during the 2017/2018 marketing year.


Argentina Weather

Showers are expected over the weekend, but meaningful moisture will be localized and in Northern Argentina.

Latest weather model showed an increase of precipitation is expected in Buenos Aires, central and the northeastern growing region next Thursday through Friday.



Ethanol Production increased to 1.057 million barrels per day from 1.044 MBPD.

Weekly production was 3.4% over LY during same week.

The increase in production over the last few weeks brings total production 2.5 percent over LY.  

U.S. ending stocks increased to 972 million gallons from 965 million gallons LW.



Export Sales

Corn and soybeans beat export sales expectations by a large margin.

Corn sales increased 8 percent compared to last week on strong buying from Japan, Mexico, Taiwan and Vietnam.

China accounted for 1.2 MMT of soybean sales this week.   

  Actual Estimated
Corn 1,857 1,000-1,500
Soybeans 2,509 900-1,400
Wheat 391 200-500


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

March 07, 2018 | Coach’s Corner | Greg Martinelli | Views: 1339

Your Sales Team Needs Some R&R

That’s Rejection & Resilience – not Rest & Relaxation

Your Sales Team Needs Some R&R

Rejection and Resilience go hand in hand in every salesperson’s career. We know we won’t sell 100% of our prospects. Early in sales training we’re taught by well meaning instructors that the prospect is rejecting our offer or our products and not us. Not always true. Since people buy from people, it’s easy to see that sometimes, we are rejected because the prospect just doesn’t like us. Resilience is the tool to pull out of your toolbox when this happens. You have a choice, cut your losses and move on to another prospect or persist through the rejection to see if the sale can be salvaged. Knowing when to do either of those choices is the Art of the Sale. Short of getting kicked out of the prospect’s place of business, there is no definitive line that tells you it’s time to persist or time to move on. It’s a gut feeling and you will get better over time. 

Special note for the experienced sales person: since you have an established territory with customers that love you, the trap you can fall into is to cut and run on prospects too soon. Whether it’s ego or lack of desire to chase prospects, you will need to pay special attention at re-energizing your Resilience. Try not to forget those early years when you did what it took to build your territory.

Key Points

Keep Digging

The buzzword in sales training is sell on “value." Find out what the customer values and then position your products to that value. If they won’t buy from you, then you haven’t found it. Keep asking questions. Keep building trust. One of the easiest ways to determine what a prospect values is to look at what they currently buy. You know your competitors well enough to determine why prospects buy from them. If not, ask the prospect. Start with the positive before you ask about the negative. For example, “What do you like about XYZ’s products?” or “How did you decide to use their products?” After some discussion, then you can start asking about what they don’t like or what their current supplier lacks.


We are in a very seasonal business and need to be aware of our prospect’s schedule.  Salespeople often get themselves in trouble with a prospect by trying to go too fast or too slow. Going too fast occurs when the salesperson is unaware of his sales style or is trying to meet an internal deadline. For example, your company has set the order deadline for your new product at the end of the month. It’s two days before the end of the month and you are beating down the doors of your prospects trying to beat the deadline. Unfortunately, the prospect doesn’t care about your deadline. 

Going too slow is often a bigger problem. Salespeople are so worried about being too pushy, they actual go too slow. The prospect loses interest, time goes by and the confused prospect ends up deciding against your products.

To solve this, keep checking with your prospect at each call on timing. Then stay accountable to the dates they give you.

Special Case #1: “I did business with your company in the past and I wasn’t happy.”

Dig in and find out what happened. Is it still an issue? Is it something recent enough that you need to "make it right." I ran into prospects that had all the paperwork they needed to return products or get a credit back on their account. They were unhappy with our company. Instead of calling us and fixing the problem, they simply quit buying from us. These are great opportunities to show them how you operate by fixing the problem. Then go into the sales process with them.

Special Case #2: “I did business with YOU in the past and wasn’t happy.”

This situation is a little more difficult as you have first hand experience with this prospect. However, they gave you an appointment to come back and call on them. That’s a good sign. Maybe they left you in anger or haste and now want to come back and be a customer again. For whatever reason, they want to return to you. One critical factor in this situation is to allow the prospect to save face. Understand their desire to come back, but do not rub it in that you were right or they should have stayed with you. They are coming back and that’s all that matters. Let the past stay in the past.

Sales R & R will make the difference in your success. We will all meet Resistance at some point. Currently in agribusiness, we are experiencing tough times for farmers, which means tough times for us. Resistance to spend money on our products is high, which means you need to master the other R – Resilience.

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