I made the mistake once of showing my wife that there’s been an opportunity for me to sell our corn and soybeans at a healthy profit every year since I picked up my farming habit. Her response should have been predictable…”then why do you make grain marketing so difficult?”… Hmmm…touché. I quickly rattled off a bunch of marketing and farming jargon to get her off the scent trail of my incompetence, but she had a good point. What she said reminded me of something Don White used to say (…I should have listened more to Don when I had the chance…):
“People make life too complicated. And if you don’t uncomplicate it, you never get any place.” -Donald Stuart White, Founder of White Commercial Corp.
Why do we do that? For farmers these days, I think a big part of it is too much information. Every day we’re bombarded with an absolute fire hose of “free” information, and to make matters worse, some of us pay for an extra helping with various subscription services. How many times have you seen both bullish and bearish headlines for the same market on the same day? I think the news flow regarding the Brazilian soybean crop over the past 6 months is a great example. Since the kids and I were home this morning due to ANOTHER school snow delay, I took a few moments to reminisce, and here are my favorites (RED = Bearish, GREEN = Bullish):
(A) 9/19/18: “Planting for both corn and beans has begun in Brazil. So far things look good down south with adequate soil moisture and no concern of drought on the horizon. Parana is already 9% planted making this year the fastest start in the past 5 years.”
(B) 11/19/18: “We are also watching the ideal conditions in Brazil growing season with the northern areas getting 4-8”, covering much of Mato Grosso.”
(C) 12/6/18: “South American crop estimates are on the rise with Conab of Brazil at 122.4 mmt for beans versus 118 in November. Celeres of Brazil is even higher and the USDA was 120.5 on The November WASDE. New crop Brazilian beans are trading to non-Chinese destinations.”
(D) 12/13/18: “There are some weather concerns popping up in Brazil, as southern states of Parana, & Mato Grosso do Sul have had extended periods of heat and dryness.”
(E) 1/3/19: “Article on Brazil suggested Parana could lose 30% of their production, while Mato Grosso production could fall 5%; current crop discussion has changed from reduced yields to crop failures.”
(F) 1/29/19: “APROSOJA predicted possible 15.0 MMT drop to 105.0 MMT. BAGE head analyst expects current rains to cut soybean plantings by 1.0-1.5 MLN HA’s from current estimate of 19.5 MLN HA’s.”
(G) 2/5/19: “…other news has Brazil bean harvest pegged @ 20% complete, with Aprosoja forecasting a Brazilian bean estimate of 101.0 MMT”, and on the same day: “(a well-respected analyst) cut his Brazilian soybean crop estimate another 1 MMT to 113 MMT and he maintains a lower bias going forward.”
And now for the punch line:
(H) 3/5/19: “…raised his 2018-19 soybean crop estimate for Brazil by 500,000 MT to 113.5 MMT, and he has a neutral to slightly higher bias going forward. ‘The weather in Brazil started to improve about mid-January, which has benefited the later-maturing soybeans'”
Don’t look too close at the chart…just notice when the headlines were bearish (red) vs bullish (green)…let that sink in good and long.