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The Pricing Performance of Market Advisory Services in Corn and Soybeans Over 1995-2004

  • Irwin, Scott H.
  • Good, Darrel L.
  • Martines-Filho, Joao Gomes
  • Batts, Ryan M.

The purpose of this research report is to evaluate the pricing performance of market advisory services for the 1995-2004 corn and soybean crops. Marketing assumptions applied to advisory program track records are intended to accurately depict “real-world” marketing conditions facing a representative central Illinois corn and soybean farmer. Several key assumptions are: i) with a few exceptions, the marketing window for a crop year runs from September before harvest through August after harvest, ii) on-farm or commercial physical storage costs, as well as interest opportunity costs, are charged to post-harvest sales, iii) brokerage costs are subtracted for all futures and options transactions and iv) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) marketing loan recommendations made by advisory programs are followed wherever feasible. Based on these and other assumptions, the net price received by a subscriber to market advisory programs is calculated for the 1995-2004 corn and soybean crops. Market and farmer benchmarks are developed for the performance evaluations. Two market benchmarks are specified in order to test the sensitivity of performance results to changing benchmark assumptions. The 24-month market benchmark averages market prices for the entire 24-month marketing window. The 20-month market benchmark is computed in a similar fashion, except the first four months of the marketing window are omitted. Given the uncertainties involved in measuring the average price received by farmers, two alternative farmer benchmarks for central Illinois are specified. The market and farmer benchmarks are computed using the same assumptions applied to advisory program track records. Five basic indicators of performance are applied to advisory program prices and revenues over 1995-2004. Results show that advisory program prices fall in the top-third of the price range relatively infrequently. There is limited evidence that advisory programs as a group outperform market benchmarks, particularly after considering risk. The evidence is somewhat more positive with respect to farmer benchmarks, even after taking risk into account. For example, the average advisory return relative to the farmer benchmarks is 8 to $12 per acre with only a marginal increase in risk. Even though this return is small and mainly from corn, it nonetheless represents a non-trivial increase in net farm income per acre for grain farms in central Illinois. Test results also suggest that it is difficult to predict the year-to-year pricing performance of advisory programs based on past pricing performance. However, there is some evidence that performance is more predictable over longer time horizons, particularly at the extremes of performance rankings. The results raise the interesting possibility that even though advisory services do not appear to “beat the market,” they nonetheless provide the opportunity for some farmers to improve performance relative to the market. Mirroring debates about stock investing, the relevant issue is whether farmers can most effectively improve marketing performance by pursuing “active” strategies, like those recommended by advisory services, or “passive” strategies, which involve routinely spreading sales across the marketing window.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/37513
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Paper provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics in its series AgMAS Project Research Reports with number 37513.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uiucrr:37513
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  1. Irwin, Scott H. & Good, Darrel L. & Martines-Filho, Joao Gomes & Batts, Ryan M., 2006. "The Pricing Performance of Market Advisory Services in Corn and Soybeans Over 1995-2004," AgMAS Project Research Reports 37513, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
  2. William G. Tomek & Hikaru Hanawa Peterson, 2005. "Implications of Commodity Price Behavior for Marketing Strategies," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1258-1264.
  3. Lewis A. Hagedorn & Scott H. Irwin & Darrel L. Good & Evelyn V. Colino, 2005. "Does the Performance of Illinois Corn and Soybean Farmers Lag the Market?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1271-1279.
  4. Anderson, Kim B. & Mapp, Harry P., Jr., 1996. "Risk Management Programs In Extension," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 21(01), July.
  5. Hikaru Hanawa Peterson & William G. Tomek, 2005. "How much of commodity price behavior can a rational expectations storage model explain?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 33(3), pages 289-303, November.
  6. Hagedorn, Lewis A. & Irwin, Scott H. & Martines-Filho, Joao Gomes & Good, Darrel L. & Sherrick, Bruce J. & Schnitkey, Gary D., 2003. "New Generation Grain Marketing Contracts," AgMAS Project Research Reports 14782, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
  7. Garcia, Philip & Adam, Brian D. & Hauser, Robert J., 1994. "The Use Of Mean-Variance For Commodity Futures And Options Hedging Decisions," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 19(01), July.
  8. Cabrini, Silvina M. & Irwin, Scott H. & Good, Darrel L., 2005. "Style and Performance of Agricultural Market Advisory Services," 2005 Conference, April 18-19, 2005, St. Louis, Missouri 19037, NCR-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management.
  9. Townsend, John P. & Brorsen, B. Wade, 1997. "Cost of Forward Contracting Hard Red Winter Wheat," 1997 Annual Meeting, July 13-16, 1997, Reno\Sparks, Nevada 35749, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
  10. Kastens, Terry L. & Schroeder, Ted C., 1996. "Efficiency Tests Of July Kansas City Wheat Futures," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 21(02), December.
  11. Brorsen, B. Wade & Anderson, Kim B., 2001. "Implications of Behavioral Finance for Farmer Marketing Strategy Recommendation," 2001 Conference, April 23-24, 2001, St. Louis, Missouri 18952, NCR-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management.
  12. Stark, Brian G. & Cabrini, Silvina M. & Irwin, Scott H. & Good, Darrel L. & Martines-Filho, Joao Gomes, 2003. "Portfolios Of Agricultural Market Advisory Services: How Much Diversification Is Enough?," AgMAS Project Research Reports 14774, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
  13. Silvina M. Cabrini & Brian G. Stark & Hayri Önal & Scott H. Irwin & Darrel L. Good & João Martines-Filho, 2004. "Efficiency Analysis of Agricultural Market Advisory Services: A Nonlinear Mixed-Integer Programming Approach," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 6(3), pages 237-252, December.
  14. Sergio H. Lence & Marvin L. Hayenga, 2001. "On the Pitfalls of Multi-Year Rollover Hedges: The Case of Hedge-to-Arrive Contracts," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(1), pages 107-119.
  15. Tomek, William G. & Peterson, Hikaru Hanawa, 2000. "Risk Management In Agricultural Markets: A Survey," 2000 Producer marketing and Risk Management Conference, January 13-14, Orlando, FL 19580, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  16. Jirik, Mark A. & Irwin, Scott H. & Good, Darrel L. & Jackson, Thomas E. & Jirik, Mark A. & Martines-Filho, Joao Gomes, 2000. "The 1995 Through 1998 Pricing Performance Of Market Advisory Services For Wheat," AgMAS Project Research Reports 14777, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
  17. Brown, Stephen J, et al, 1992. "Survivorship Bias in Performance Studies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(4), pages 553-80.
  18. Zanini, Fabio C. & Sherrick, Bruce J. & Schnitkey, Gary D. & Irwin, Scott H., 2001. "Crop Insurance Valuation Under Alternative Yield Distributions," 2001 Conference, April 23-24, 2001, St. Louis, Missouri 18953, NCR-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management.
  19. Kim B. Anderson & B. Wade Brorsen, 2005. "Marketing Performance of Oklahoma Farmers," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1265-1270.
  20. Stephen J. Brown & William N. Goetzmann & Roger G. Ibbotson, 1997. "Offshore Hedge Funds: Survival and Performance 1989-1995," NBER Working Papers 5909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Ani L. Katchova & Mario J. Miranda, 2004. "Two-Step Econometric Estimation of Farm Characteristics Affecting Marketing Contract Decisions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(1), pages 88-102.
  22. Pennings, Joost M.E. & Isengildina, Olga & Irwin, Scott H. & Good, Darrel L., 2004. "The Impact Of Marketing Advisory Service Recommendations On Producers' Marketing Decisions," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20389, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  23. Brorsen, B. Wade & Irwin, Scott H., 1996. "Improving The Relevance Of Research On Price Forecasting And Marketing Strategies," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 25(1), April.
  24. Thompson, Sarahelen R. & Eales, James S. & Seibold, David, 1993. "Comparison Of Liquidity Costs Between The Kansas City And Chicago Wheat Futures Contracts," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 18(02), December.
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