A good grain marketing plan that scales sales over the course of year, at times that are usually advantageous is a “hedge against stupidity,” says Texas AgriLife Extension economist Jason Johnson.

Johnson discussed grain marketing trends at the recent Texas Plant Production Association annual conference in College Station.

He said supply and demand remain important factors in grain prices but may not be more important than international issues, such as rising debt. He said ethanol continues to influence the price of corn as well as other commodities as crops “buy acreage” to maintain production.

Johnson said ethanol would continue to support the corn market as long as the renewable fuels mandate remains in place, regardless of the loss of the blender tax subsidy.

“Tight ending stocks,” Johnson said, “are they keys to grain prices. Ending stocks-to-use ratio that goes down from the previous year supports prices,” he said. “Scarcity brings out fear and greed.”

Both the U.S. and world ending stocks-to-use percentage is estimated to be down going into 2102, he said. “That supports prices into next year.”

Volatility, a constant factor in grain markets over the past decade, continues to influence profit potential. “In 2011 the range from the corn low to high price was $4 a bushel,” Johnson said. “That was the high price in recent years.”