The 2021 corn and soybean crops have seen more than their share of market volatility.  New crop December corn futures have had a range of over $2.00 per bushel just this calendar year – the 2016-2020 total range was only $1.50 in pre-harvest opportunities!   New crop November soybean futures have ranged almost $3.50 per bushel since January which is equal to the range for the previous 5 years!   The extraordinary price swings and exceptional pre-harvest revenue offered can make marketing the crop very challenging.  

For bushels not priced before harvest, soon the page will turn from the volatility of new crop pricing to the decisions to be made at and after harvest.  A new simulation is available to help learn about marketing after harvest: 

To join the 2021-22 Iowa Commodity Challenge:

New this year are example marketers that will play along to illustrate strategies.   Follow along with Harvest Seller, Crop Storer, Futures Buyer, Call Option Buyer and Diverse Marketer to see results of various strategies.

Please use this quick registration link:   

  1. Please click the “Join Commodity Challenge” button, register including creating your own password, then you will be automatically added to the 2021-22 Iowa Commodity Challenge.
  2. You are now registered and ready to play 2021-22 Iowa Commodity Challenge.  The simulation will always be listed on the front page under Active Games.

 The simulation

  1. You begin with 75,000 bushels of corn and 25,000 bushels of soybeans from the 2021 crop that you must market by June 15, 2022.
  2. You can use futures, options, cash forward contracts (January or March delivery) and cash transactions to market your crops.  Cash transactions are based on the market in Bondurant, Iowa (just north of Des Moines).  Cash transactions can’t be done until harvest (October 20, 2021).
  3. After harvest, storage costs begin. Corn: 3 cents/bu./month; Soybeans 6 cents/bu./month.
  4. All marketing actions must be completed by June 15, 2022, when the game ends.
  5. The marketing choices you make in the game are entirely up to you.
  6. The game allows you to experiment with marketing tools under real-world conditions.  The prices in the game are the prices currently available in the market.

 Reentering Commodity Challenge simulation

Go to Enter your Email address, the password you created and click the “Sign In” button.

Recorded Presentation

As harvest approaches, many factors go into the decisions for bushels not priced before harvest and 2021 has very unique factors that should be considered.  In addition to basis vs. history, the carrying charge offered by the market and other factors, a historical look at the interaction between the volume of crop marketed and the price is worthwhile background for the decision.    A short recorded presentation is a good primer for many of the factors to recognize as harvest approaches and is linked at this site: