Got your corn and beans marketed? Hope so!

The price charts featured on the www.MarketMaxx.net Web site in mid-September illustrated how far markets for corn and soybeans have sunk since mid-July. December corn futures were struggling to stay above $2/bu. November soybean futures were at a skimpy $5.70.

And that was before harvest hit full swing.

However, traders in the MarketMaxx corn and soybean marketing contests were sitting on some lofty prices as The Corn And Soybean Digest game was ready to enter its final month.

The top 10 leaders in the corn marketing contest had sales that ranged from $2.47 to $2.86/bu. The top 10 leaders in the soybean marketing contest had sturdy sales in the $7.86-8.28 range.

Halloween day — October 31 — is the final day to make trades in the MarketMaxx games. There are just over 3,500 participants in the contests. Each player has a fictitious 100,000 bu. of corn to sell and 50,000 bu. of soybeans. Players can use sales to local elevators, futures or options or other methods of obtaining the best prices.

Massey Ferguson, Mid-Tech, Syngenta and Crop Insurance are sponsors of the MarketMaxx contests. Once the contests ends, the top three growers in each of the corn and soybean contests will win some great prizes provided by these sponsors.

One year's use of a Massey Ferguson MF 9000 Self-Propelled Combine (up to 100 separator hours of a use), a $12,000 value, will go the first-prize winner in the corn marketing contest.

First prize in the soybean contest is a year's use (not to exceed 250 hours) of the grower's choice of any Massey Ferguson tractor in the MF 7400 or MF 8400 series, also valued at $12,000.

A GPS Manual Guidance System from Mid-Tech valued at $3,750 will be awarded to the second place winners in each contest. Third place winners will receive a computer and software valued at $2,500 from Syngenta Crop Protection.

Winners in the contests likely will not be known until the final week, or even final day of trading. That's because there are some highly astute players in the game.

Kevin McNew, president of CashGrainBids.com and statistical coordinator of MarketMaxx, says that the well-managed trading put forth by marketers taking part in the corn and soybean contests illustrates the marketing savvy of growers and others vying for the top spots.

“I have been a bit surprised at the high caliber of players we have seen this year in MarketMaxx,” says McNew. “But when you have more than 3,000 players, you have the ‘cream of the crop’ out there. It's good to see people out there doing so well and getting some successful trades. We hope that others in the games are learning to do a better job of marketing.”

McNew says the 2005 crop year has been a textbook year for trying different marketing methods. “Prices have been all over the place,” he says. “Prices were strong early on and into the summer. But they have been on a steady decline since then.”

Drops in 2005 corn and bean production were projected early, with the threats of Asian rust and early season concerns with drought. “But as we get toward the finish line in the MarketMaxx contests, crop production isn't near as bad as thought,” says McNew.

“Markets have taken a dive. People who responded by changing their marketing positions have done pretty well.”

He stresses the important lesson taught through MarketMaxx is that growers must monitor the markets daily or even by the hour in some cases to “stay attuned to what goes on.”

Early locks of higher prices in true-life grain marketing are likely to pay off following the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. McNew says both corn and soybean basis levels have been dragged down even further by the clogged Mississippi River barge traffic and other weather-related problems.

Lessons learned from the unusual impacts of weather and production will benefit growers who take part in the 2006 MarketMaxx contest, the rules of which will be available soon on the www.MarketMaxx.net site and in The Corn And Soybean Digest.

The 2006 game is scheduled to officially begin on Jan. 1. It will include both old-crop and new-crop trading.

“We have had very good feedback from players in this year's contest,” says McNew. “People have enjoyed trading it. Even the ones just getting an education in marketing like it. We are looking forward to the game next year.”