Marketing your grain crops can be as easy as hauling your production to your local elevator as soon as it is harvested or as involved as using grain contracts and hedging to help improve your income potential. With recent low prices, attempting to increase your income may be necessary to sustain your farm.
Using grain contracts may be an option for you to consider. You agree to sell at least a portion of your production for a specified price at a pre-determined date. These contracts may be negotiated to try to increase returns.
Grain hedging is a more involved and hands-on method of marketing your grain. You will need to study the trends in grain prices and decide when to buy and sell your production. The goal is to sell the production at a price that will yield as much profit after the cost of production, storage, and marketing expenses are returned.
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides price information for agronomic and horticultural crops. This price information is derived from sales data from major auction houses for livestock and grains and from terminal markets for horticultural crops.
You can develop your own custom report for the crops you produce by following the prompts on the AMS site. You may also find grading standards for many crops to help you better understand the quality of your production. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) contracts with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to provide reports for various crops produced in Pennsylvania.
There are also subscription services you may purchase and use for your marketing information. Be sure to conduct your own research to determine which option better suits your needs.