21 November 1997

Sell when price right

SELLING grain when it reaches a predetermined budget price has got to become part of the cereal growers philosophy, Richard Whitlock, director of Banks Agriculture, told the conference.

Low support prices meant it was now possible for even the best farmer to make a loss because he was not a good marketeer.

Poor farmers had gone bust in the past because they failed to achieve sufficient yields. Now failure to secure a sufficient price was also a business threatening risk.

The best defence was information. Knowing which factors were driving the market and understanding the appropriate trends were the most useful pieces of information.

But what was an acceptable price? he asked. Far too often in volatile markets sellers missed a reasonable price by waiting for an exceptional price. If a farm budget was good enough to sow crops on, it should be good enough to sell them on, said Mr Whitlock.

"Growers need to know their costs of production and have in mind a price at which it is profitable for them to sell. "Marketing is the key to success. Learn to watch the market so that sales decisions can be made on the call," he advised. Farmers should not alter their selling price in a rising market, unless they understood why the market was going up. And they should not be "all or nothing" sellers. "As prices approach the level you believe is acceptable, be prepared to start to sell small lots," he said.

Richard Whitlock…

crops should be marketed according to the farms budget.