Do you have all of your simulated corn and soybeans traded in the MarketMaxx game? If not, midnight on Oct. 31 is your last chance.

MarketMaxx 2008, from Corn & Soybean Digest, has nearly 8,300 players. It's been another soaring success. Players trade virtual corn (100,000 bu.) and soybeans (50,000 bu.). Trades are free of charge and there are no margin calls. Ever.

MarketMaxx is excellent training for growers, says Ed Usset, University of Minnesota grain marketing specialist and marketing columnist for Corn & Soybean Digest.

“Playing a simulated game like MarketMaxx can be equal to five years of experience trading real-time futures and options,” says Usset.

The huge run-up in corn and soybean prices this year presented MarkeMaxx players with opportunities to get futures and options trades made in the $8+/bu. range for corn and well over $16/bu. for soybeans. Some players even locked in $9+ corn and $20+ beans by riding up the value of call options.

One was Roy Sangmeister, Peotone, IL, a player who enjoys testing his marketing skills against others. “Options are the way to go in this game,” says Sangmeister, a leader in soybean trading most of the year. “They provide flexibility. When you realize you're in a wrong move, you can quickly get out and take your licks. I like to take small, short-term positions. You don't have to take as big of a risk.”

The MarketMaxx Web site (www.marketmaxx.net) enables players to remain on top of their trading prices and compare their marketing moves against others. It's also the only place you can make trades using Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures and options and cash contracting.

Even if you're not playing the game, the Web site provides access to the latest corn and soybean marketing trends and market commentary. There are also marketing tutorials to help you learn the basics of writing a marketing plan.

If you're a farmer who hasn't served as a licensed commodity broker the past five years, you could win a year's use of a new combine or tractor in MarketMaxx.

Grand prize for the corn contest is a Gleaner R5 or A5 series combine (up to 100 combine separator hours). The soybean winner will receive a year's use (not to exceed 250 hours) of the choice of any PowerMaxx CVT-equipped AGCO RT or DT series tractor.

Second prize for each contest is a complete computer system plus software from Syngenta Crop Protection. Third prize in the corn contest is a complete Leica mojoRTK auto-steer system from Leica Geosystems. Third prize in the soybean contest and fourth prize in the corn contest is a DICKEY-john mini GAC Plus handheld moisture tester.

Remember: All players must have every bushel traded before the contest ends at 12 a.m., Oct. 31 to be eligible to win a prize.

Usset stresses the value of using MarketMaxx. “If you play simulated games like MarketMaxx, it's a test-drive of the different tools and new ideas and approaches,” he says.

“In real time, you get about one shot a year. That's a bad way to build experience. A grower might become an expert marketer by the time he retires. Playing MarketMaxx helps you learn how the markets work without facing margin calls or other financial burdens,” Usset says.

The site also offers links to CBOT, Kansas City Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Minnesota Grain Exchange, New York Board of Trade, Brock & Associates and Cash Grain Bids.

Although MarketMaxx 2008 is winding down, you can start thinking about signup for 2009, scheduled to begin soon at www.marketmaxx.net. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain with MarketMaxx.