Richard Oswald often faces a tricky problem in marketing his corn and soybeans. “My theory is sound but my timing is bad,” explains the Northwest Missouri grower.

He is certainly not alone. Even the experts in grain marketing are sometimes too late or too quick in pulling the trigger on futures, options or forward contract trades.

MarketMaxx from The Corn And Soybean Digest is designed to help smooth the soybean and corn marketing process through games that provide a simulated futures and options trading experience for players.

“It allows you to learn by playing without paying,” says Al Kluis, president of Northland Commodities, Minneapolis, MN, whose column can be seen on the www.MarketMaxx.net Web site. “MarketMaxx is opening the eyes of many ‘new’ marketers to how futures and options can be friendly tools in helping them reach their marketing goals.”

The site features a wealth of educational information to help you better understand futures and options trades. It even has a guide to writing your own marketing plan.

MarketMaxx 2006 is in its final two months and concludes on Oct. 31. MarketMaxx 2007 is in the planning stages and is set to roll out in early January.

Oswald has been playing the game the past two years and is usually among the leaders in this year's soybean marketing contest. “What I like about MarketMaxx is that it lets me ‘paper trade’ in a way that is a little more exciting,” says Oswald, who farms with his son, Brandon, in the Missouri River Valley region.

“With weather and plantings still far in the future, testing market theory early in the year is mostly guesswork. So I start out with a theory of what I think the market will do long term. I implement that strategy and watch to see what will happen.

“It comes down to timing,” he says. “So testing my theory and seeing what it yields (through MarketMaxx) is a good pasttime while I wait to see what my crops will yield and decide when to start pricing actual production.”

Oswald locked in a strong basis early on this year on much of his anticipated production. He then waited to determine how his theories on futures prices responded.

“Soybean markets have been flatter than I anticipated,” he says, “but my soybean theory on MarketMaxx has worked better than the one on corn.”

In early August, Oswald had his soybeans locked in MarketMaxx at just under $6.70/bu. Not a bad price, considering that November '06 soybean futures were struggling to remain at $6 during that period.

Like other players in the soybean and corn game, he hopes to win one of the many prizes. Players with the highest average selling prices of their entire 100,000 bu. of corn or 50,000 bu. of soybeans will be grand prize winners.

Massey Ferguson and Syngenta are MarketMaxx sponsors. Grayhill Custom Solutions and Agristar Global Networks are prize sponsors for this year's MarketMaxx games.

“There's plenty of good information on the MarketMaxx Web site,” says Kluis. “You can implement trades in real-time marketing conditions without having to worry about making margin calls. And the site's link to learning how to write and execute a marketing plan is a real bonus.”

Another Web site column by Kevin McNew of Cash Grain Bids, Billings, MT, examines the path of corn and soybean basis movement in your local area and nationwide.

Oswald believes in his ability to produce good crops and good prices. “Whether it be farming or MarketMaxx, playing the game is fun,” he says. “I enjoy marketing, the challenge of it, and I enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor when the crop goes to town.”

Pay a visit to the MarketMaxx site today at www.MarketMaxx.net and be sure to check out the “library” tab. Then bookmark the site for a quick source to corn and soybean marketing questions.