Jim Spahr has solidified his grain marketing theory that taking too many chances in options trades may not be the best strategy to use in real-time corn and soybean sales. He did it by playing MarketMaxx.

But that's one of the goals of MarketMaxx (www.MarketMaxx.net), the marketing game from The Corn And Soybean Digest — to help growers understand how futures and options work and how they can impact true corn and bean sales.

Spahr's use of call options, betting on an increase in corn prices, helped him place third in the 2006 contest. His final selling price for marketing 100,000 bu. of fictitious corn was $3.31.28/bu. The Seward, NE, grower won a mobile computer system from Grayhill Custom Mobile Solutions.

Third place winner in the soybean marketing contest was Michael Brass, Rochester, MN, also big into feeding cattle and hogs. He marketed his 50,000 bu. of fictitious soybeans for $6.62.21/bu. and also won a Grayhill mobile computer.

Brass says he took advantage of early year soybean prices. He had his entire 50,000-bu. allotment marketed by late March 2006.

Brass and Spahr are also playing MarketMaxx 2007, which is entering its third month in March. Early year high prices for corn and beans have them and other growers bullish on both crops.

Spahr admits he made the corn options trades recklessly because he knew he would not face margin calls in the game. “That's an advantage to playing MarketMaxx,” he says. “You can make trades and not face penalties it they go the wrong way.”

Close to 6,200 players are working to get the most from their MarketMaxx beans and corn this year. All are vying for the grand prizes of an AGCO Gleaner R5 or A5 series combine (not to exceed 100 combine separator hours) in the corn contest, or an AGCO RT or DT tractor (not to exceed 250 hours) in the soybean contest.

Second place prize for each category is a complete computer system including software from Syngenta Crop Protection. Along with AGCO Gleaner, AGCO Tractors and Syngenta Crop Protection, Cargill Certified SolutionPro is also a MarketMaxx 2007 sponsor.

If you're not yet signed up for MarketMaxx 2007, go to www.MarketMaxx.net to enter the game. If you are a farmer, 18 or older, and have not served as a licensed commodity broker the past five years, you too can become a MarketMaxx winner by selling your entire allotment of corn or soybeans at the highest price when the contest ends on Oct. 31, 2007. A complete guide to MarketMaxx rules and regulations is available at www.MarketMaxx.net.

While visiting the site, take advantage of a MarketMaxx tutorial, an extensive marketing library and glossary and its link to how to write and implement a marketing plan. You can also see how your trades compare to contest leaders, follow the paths of the three nearest Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures contracts and review market commentary from Al Kluis, president of Northland Commodities, Minneapolis, MN.

Go to www.MarketMaxx.net today and help yourself to a feast of marketing information that can help you gain a better price for your crops this year and beyond.