Tools of The Trade: 2023 Edition🛠️
Trading in the dark again? Maybe you should up your game with these tools.
We’re starting this week off focusing on technology and how it can help you with your farming, trading, or brokering business. These tools and resources are meant for anyone who wishes to extract more value out of every bushel they buy, sell, or trade without breaking the budget. Although these are trade-centric tools, they can also be utilized by anyone who has interest in what makes the grain markets move.
The following list has been vetted based on the following criteria:
Speed, Reliability, and Consistency
Information needs to be delivered as fast and reliably as possible.
Desktop, browser, and mobile applications are a must have.
Pricing Transparency and Value
Pricing isn’t available on your website? We’re not interested.
Asking for over $100 a month? You’re asking for too much.
We hope you enjoy this list of tools and resources and hope they save you or make you money.
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*Copyright notice: All works on this blog (blog.GrainStats.com) and the GrainStats.com domain are copyright protected and may not be duplicated, disseminated, or appropriated.
Market Data & Charting 📈💹
Whether you are a beginner, pro, or casual observer of markets, you are going to need market data and charts. We’ve found after demoing numerous platforms, the application that seems to go over well with the masses is TradingView.
The top three strengths we’ve found with TradingView are the mobile application, the charting experience, and the fact that nearly all asset classes are supported.
Going Mobile: Using the mobile app, you can take your trading operation anywhere there is a mobile signal or Wifi point, which for the mobile generation, is a must have.
Charting: Pulling up a chart on TradingView is a smooth and easy process. If you are a technician of markets, TradingView offers over 100 built in trading tools such as moving averages, bollinger bands, and RSI. We use it daily and is a foundation for our 🖐🏻5 Charts In Five Minutes blog posts.
Asset Classes: If you’re interested in other markets outside of grain futures, TradingView supports nearly all of of the majors: energy futures, cryptocurrency, equities, and foreign exchange (FX).
Speed, Reliability, and Consistency: Grain futures have a 10-minute delay for free accounts. Real time grain futures data is $5 dollars a month (after upgrading to a pro account).
Accessibility: Mobile (iPhone, Android) , Desktop, and Browser.
Price Transparency and Value: Accounts are free with the above mentioned price delay, but for under $20 dollars a month, you can have real time prices and extra features by upgrading your account. This is a score compared to the competition who will charge $80 to $150 a month without real time data.
News Releases 📰
Now that you’re equipped with market prices and data, you’ll need to focus your interests on what makes the market move: news releases.
Without naming names, we have found that several professional news feeds have dropped the ball when it comes to grain market intelligence. We’ve observed these services often reporting late, reporting the wrong information, or simply reporting too much information that does not matter to the market. The solution? We built our own news feed at GrainStats.com
GrainStats.com started in 2019 as a reliable, affordable, and extremely fast grain market news service. Since inception, the service has spread onto several different platforms or protocols - E-mail, Telegram, API, and WhatsApp (Currently in Beta).
To describe GrainStats is simple. GrainStats scrapes data from economic releases of government websites, applies analysis to the data, and distributes it over several mediums - Website (Browser), API (application programming interface), E-mail, Telegram (Mobile), and WhatsApp (Beta) - in an extremely fast and automated way. Not only does the service distribute economic releases, GrainStats distributes news articles and updates that actually matter to the market.
Check out the following demo on Telegram👇🏻 (Click here to open in your web browser if the following twitter post does not display)
The feed is constantly maturing and improving since it first launched. Definitely add this to your work bench if you’re tired of overpaying for what you currently have or need a backup for what you are currently using. Everybody is welcome.
Speed, Reliability, and Consistency: We built it, we know what it offers and it excels in all three versus the competition.
Accessibility: Mobile (iPhone, Android) , Desktop, Browser, or E-mail
Price Transparency and Value: Free currently, but expecting to be a paid service in combination with our blog service.
Social (OSINT) 💻
Now that you’re equipped with a base toolset, you can take it a step further in open source intelligence (OSINT) by utilizing social media platforms for information and networking. We have tried several platforms over the years and found the following platforms or groups are central to the trade.
Twitter is by far the most balanced platform to find industry participants on both sides of the trade - buyers, sellers, merchants, traders, corporations, grain cooperatives, marketers/advisors, brokers, agronomists, seed dealers - the list can go on. Although it takes time to build a network on Twitter, you can always use a cheat code and use our Grain Trading Participants list to get started. (Protip: use the hashtags #AgTwitter and #oatt to connect with farmers and the trade)
The AgTalk forum is an early 2000’s style discussion board for farmers. The forum discusses everything from machinery equipment to markets. We definitely enjoy the interactions there and they are mostly positive.
Facebook Grain Market Discussion (GMD)
Home to nearly 60 thousand users on Facebook, GMD is a place for market discussion amongst a large farmer base in the United States. We enjoy the content and pulse of conversations there, but warn our audience that the conversations can become frustrating at times. Many have sworn off GMD and moved to Twitter and AgTalk. Regardless, it makes our list since a large portion of the trade is there.
Utilizing the above social media websites or groups, you can gauge how the current narrative in the market is playing out and acquire feedback on it. As trading can be very emotional at times, it’s important to understand what other market participants are seeing and acting upon, thus social media is necessary to the trade in the current state of affairs.
Grain Analytics 🌽+📈
When it comes to grain market analytics, if you’re willing to invest in the time to do so, you can build your own data analytics utilizing the following free resources:
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Ministry of Agriculture Websites (e.g. Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine)
Customs Data (e.g. US, EU, China, Brazil, Argentina)
State, Federal or National Registrar’s (law information)
Elevator or Processor Websites (cash price information)
Grain Futures Exchanges (e.g. CME, MGEX, Euronext)
The above resources supply a vast amount of data that requires hiring a full-time analyst to monitor, analyze, and update the data as it is released. As you can imagine, that is not feasible for most participants in the trade. The only other option is to outsource it to the market or not look at it at all, both of which we have seen the market participants do. (why else would they be on social media? 👀)
The ones that choose to outsource the data to the market will be tied into contracts ranging anywhere from $150 a month to $1,000 a month. As you can imagine, they don’t make it to our list.
So if you’re not willing to invest the time or can’t afford it, you should really check out the tools we have put together at GrainStats.com. As with the news feed we do offer the following analytic tools.
Commitments of Traders Report Analysis (Trends, Seasonal Analysis, History)
Ethanol Weekly Report (Trends, Outliers)
European Union Trade Monitor (Import/Export Trends)
Price Sentiment Polling (Social media polling of the expectation of prices)
US Crop Progress and Conditions (Planting, Conditions, and Harvest Trends)
US Drought Monitor (Seasonal Analysis and History)
US Export Monitor (Import/Export Trends)
US Vessel Tracker (Weekly boat tracker to several destinations)
US WASDE Forecast (Historical trend of WASDE forecasts)
This is just a small list of what we have currently, give it a shot yourself.
We’ll be going over a full re-design in 2023, until then, consider the service gratis.
Speed, Reliability, and Consistency: Fast - we built it and it is distributed over several mediums.
Accessibility: Mobile (iPhone, Android) , Desktop, Browser, and Programming interfaces (API)
Price Transparency and Value: Free currently, but expecting to be a paid service after the redesign in 2023. (We promise it won’t be anywhere as expensive as the competition.)
Moving onto weather, we have had great success using the MarcusWeather.com platform. It is robust, easy to use, and was built for the agricultural industry.
What we like most about the application, apart from the ease of use, is the acreage overlay of where the crop is grown in combination with the weather forecast. This feature is something we have not seen done by the competition.
Below are some other features that can be utilized by the Marcus Weather Mapping Application.
Precipitation Totals (Observed)
Precipitation Metrics (Departure from normal, normal precipitation history)
Region Forecasts (North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania)
Degree Days (HDD, GDD)
Satellite Imagery Analysis (Surface Soil Moisture, Vegetation Health Index, NDVI)
Historical Precipitation Analysis
Speed, Reliability, and Consistency: The platform is consistent with its offering and accuracy versus the competition.
Accessibility: Mobile can be used, but browser/desktop is the go to for this application. API access if also available for premium tier users.
Price Transparency and Value: Transparent pricing starting at $50 a month.
We’ve armed you with the tools and resources to up your game. We hope you find as much value as we do with these platforms. As a reminder, all of this starts with you and your desire to understand how these markets operate.
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