Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik DTN Markets Editor

Wednesday 01/09/13

Tools to Up Your Marketing Savvy in 2013

Welcome to 2013, dear readers. Now that the parties and half-baked resolutions are out of your system, it's a good time to think about what you can do realistically do to make smarter marketing decisions in 2013.

Some powerful, easy-to-use tools are already at your fingertips and you might not know it. DTN Grains Pro Online subscribers have access to an entire toolbox of market tracking, profit calculating, position tracking applications designed to help farmers better understand their marketing position. The tools can be found in the Toolbox tab on the top, right hand side of your screen.

So when you're snowed in this winter or want to spend some time thinking about your farm in a new ways, I suggest taking a little time to get to know these handy tools.

-- DTN Market Tracker allows you create a visual picture of the marketing opportunities in your area by viewing cash bids, basis, average county basis and USDA data on a color-coded map. What's more, you can adjust the layers on the tracker to show precipitation, weather forecasts, storm history, growing degree days and more.

This feature can be a helpful visual tool for farmers when weather is in the market's driver's seat. Take this summer for example: farmers could monitor precipitation maps on top of growing degree days and cash prices to be able to tell when the heat and lack of moisture started moving local prices higher. That information could be used to help lock in feed costs or get out of an oversold position before it becomes too costly.

The DTN Market Tracker is a visual way to consumer market data, which to me, is much easier than looking at a table any day.

-- Profit Calculator is designed to help farmers figure out their breakevens so they know what price they need to sell their grain at in order to make a profit, and it's one of the most powerful tools in the DTN Toolbox. The more information you put into the calculator and the more specific the information is, the more detailed your breakeven estimate will be. It can figure the breakeven estimate for a whole farm breakeven or for individual fields.

It takes about an hour to fill out the whole thing completely if you have access to your chemical bills, hedge positions, cost of carry, etc. You can always use estimates now and update them once you purchase inputs, etc. It will also automatically pull futures and cash prices into the software to make calculations, saving you time, while tracking your farms' profits over time.

-- Position Tracker shows you all of your futures and options positions along side your cash positions, creating a overall net perspective of your stance in the markets. It tracks your gains and losses by year and by commodity. A green, yellow and red indicator shows whether your position is aligned correctly with the market or if you need to take action on an option, for instance.

There are even more tools in the box to explore, but these three will help give you a clear picture of what you need to do have a profitable 2013.

If you aren't a DTN Grains Pro Subscriber, you can try some of these tools by signing up for a free 14-day trial at http://about.dtnpf.com/…. You can also contact a DTN Account Manager for a demonstration at 1-800-511-0095.

Posted at 3:15PM CST 01/09/13 by Katie Micik
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