When the first MarketMaxx game started about three years ago, players were pondering whether $2.50 corn or $7 soybeans were smart trades.

Have times changed, or what?

And as is indicated by the down-the-stretch selling prices among leaders on MarketMaxx 2007, winners in the contests from The Corn And Soybean Digest will be at or way above lofty numbers.

There are nearly 7,000 MarketMaxx players this year. And knowing how to handle today's wild and volatile markets is what makes a program like MarketMaxx an important educational tool for players and others, says Richard Brock, marketing consultant for The Corn And Soybean Digest and head of Brock& Associates, Milwaukee, WI.

“The number one thing that using MarketMaxx has taught them is the extreme volatility of the grain markets,” says Brock, speaking of regular 50-70¢/bu. weekly market swings. “If they are futures and options traders, they have really seen the ups and downs.”

The latest MarketMaxx leading corn and soybean prices can be viewed at www.MarketMaxx.net. That's also where final trades must be made in this year's game before it officially ends at midnight Oct. 31.

All MarketMaxx players have a simulated volume of 100,000 bu. of corn and 50,000 bu. of soybeans to trade using Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn or soybean futures and options, or by using cash contract trades. All players must have every bushel traded before the contest ends to be eligible to win a prize.

Only farmers are eligible to win grand prizes and second prizes in the marketing contests.

Grand prize in the corn contest is one year's use (up to 100 separator hours) of a new Agco Gleaner R5 or A5 series combine, a $12,000 value.

Grand prize in the soybean contest is an Agco RT or DT series tractor (up to 250 separator hours), also a $12,000 value.

Second prize in the corn and soybean contests are complete computer systems from Syngenta Crop Protection. Agco Gleaner, Agco Tractors, Syngenta Crop Protection and Cargill Certified SolutionPro are MarketMaxx 2007 sponsors.

Even if you aren't signed up for MarketMaxx, you can take advantage of the mass of marketing information offered on the popular Web site at www.MarketMaxx.net. There is information on how to develop and write a marketing plan, a glossary of marketing terms and market quotes and graphs on up-to-the-minute CBOT corn and soybean futures prices.

There are also links to CBOT, Kansas City Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Minnesota Grain Exchange, New York Board of Trade and Brock & Associates.

Brock notes that the volatility in corn and soybean basis levels has also made learning the ins and outs of marketing more important. “Basis movement has been dramatic,” he says.

He adds that high margin requirements in corn and soybean futures contracts have many growers looking more at hedge-to-arrive (HTA) or similar contracts with grain companies and ethanol plants.

Growers can benefit from MarketMaxx, he says, because it gives them an opportunity make trades without facing margin calls or other financial burdens.

Even though MarketMaxx 2007 is coming to an end, it's not too early to start thinking about signing up for 2008. Sign up should begin soon at www.MarketMaxx.net. The contest is scheduled to begin the first week of January 2008.

For a detailed description of MarketMaxx rules and regulations, go to www.MarketMaxx.net. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain with MarketMaxx.