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Mean-reversion in Income over Feed Cost Margins:Evidence and Implications for Managing Margin Risk by U.S. Dairy Producers

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Author Info

  • Bozic, Marin
  • Newton, John
  • Thraen, Cameron S.
  • Gould, Brian W.

Abstract

With increased volatility of feed prices dairy farm managers are no longer concerned with managing just milk price volatility but are considering the adoption of risk management programs that address income over feed cost (IOFC) margin risk. Successful margin risk management should be founded on understanding of the behavior of IOFC margins. To that end, we construct forward IOFC margins using Class III milk, corn and soybean meal futures prices. We focus on the characteristics of the term structure of forward IOFC margins, i.e. the sequence of forward margins for consecutive calendar months, all observed on the same trading day. What is apparent from shapes of these term structures is that both in times when margins were exceptionally high and when they were disastrously low, market participants expected that a reversal back to average margin levels would not come quickly, but would rather take up to 9 months. Slopes of the forward margin term structure prior to and after most of the major swings in IOFC indicate these shocks were mostly unanticipated, while time needed for recovery to normal margin levels was successfully predicted. This suggests that IOFC margins may exhibit slow mean-reverting, rather than predictable cyclical behavior, as is often suggested in the popular press. This finding can be exploited to design a successful catastrophic risk management program by initiating protection at 9 to 12 months prior to futures contract maturity. As a case study, we analyze risk management strategies for managing IOFC margins that utilize Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle (LGM-Dairy) insurance contracts. We created two farm profiles where the first one represents dairy farms that grow most of their feed. The second profile is designed to capture the risk exposure of a dairy farm that purchases all their dairy herd, dry cow, and heifer feed. Our case study of this program encompasses the 2009 period which was characterized by exceptionally poor IOFC margin conditions. We analyzed the dynamics of realized IOFC margins in 2009 under four different risk management strategies, and found that optimal strategies that are founded on principles delineated above succeeded in reducing the decline IOFC margins in 2009 by 93% for home-feed and 47% for market-feed profile, and performed substantially better than alternative strategies suggested by earlier literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 132379.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umaesp:132379

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Related research

Keywords: risk management; income over feed cost margin; Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle program; Agricultural Finance; Risk and Uncertainty;

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References

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  1. Fortenbery, T. Randall & Cropp, Robert A. & Zapata, Hector O., 1997. "Analysis of Expected Price Dynamics Between Fluid Milk Futures Contracts and Cash Prices for Fluid Milk," Journal of Agribusiness, Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, vol. 15(2).
  2. Bamba, Ibrahim & Maynard, Leigh J., 2004. "Hedging-Effectiveness of Milk Futures Using Value-At-Risk Procedures," 2004 Conference, April 19-20, 2004, St. Louis, Missouri 19028, NCR-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management.
  3. Leigh J. Maynard & Christopher Wolf & Matthew Gearhardt, 2005. "Can Futures and Options Markets Hold the Milk Price Safety Net? Policy Conflicts and Market Failures in Dairy Hedging," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 273-286.
  4. T. Randall FORTENBERY & Robert A. CROPP & Hector O. ZAPATA, 1997. "Analysis Of Expected Price Dynamics Between Fluid Milk Futures Contracts And Cash Prices For Fluid Milk," Staff Papers 407, University of Wisconsin Madison, AAE.
  5. T. RANDALL FORTENBERY & ROBERT A. CROPP & Hector O. Zapata, 1997. "Analysis of Expected Price Dynamics Between Fluid Milk Futures Contracts and Cash Prices for Fluid Milk," Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Papers 407, Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Department.
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Cited by:
  1. Mosheim, Roberto & Blaney, Don & Burdine, Kenny & Maynard, Leigh, 2014. "Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy Insurance: An Assessment of Risk Management and Potential Supply Impacts," Economic Research Report 164606, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  2. Bozic, Marin & Newton, John & Thraen, Cameron S. & Gould, Brian W., 2012. "Parametric Bootstrap Tests for Futures Price and Implied Volatility Biases with Application to Rating Livestock Margin Insurance for Dairy Cattle," Staff Papers 135077, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  3. Newton, John & Thraen, Cameron S. & Bozic, Marin, 2013. "Whither Dairy Policy? Evaluating Expected Government Outlays and Distributional Impacts of Alternative 2013 Farm Bill Dairy Title Proposals," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 153750, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Wolf, Christopher & Bozic, Marin & Newton, John & Thraen, Cameron, 2013. "Moove Over: Will New Government-Sponsored Dairy Margin Insurance Crowd Out Private Market Risk Management Tools?," 2013 AAEA: Crop Insurance and the Farm Bill Symposium, October 8-9, Louisville, KY 156713, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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