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Abstract

The statistical forecasting efficiency of new crop corn and soybean futures is the topic of frequent academic inquiry. However, few studies address the usefulness of these forecasts to economic agents' decision-making. Each year Central Illinois producers are faced with the decision to plant either corn or soybeans on marginal acreage. Agronomic concerns aside, these decisions hinge on the expected relative return of corn versus soybeans, and the expected return is largely a function of expected new crop prices. Do new crop futures prices reliably guide producers into the correct production decision? The results suggest that over the entire period of the analysis, futures markets provide only marginal decision-making information to the producer; however, more recent signals do appear to be useful.

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