Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level



Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness


Andrew M. McKenzie

Committee Member

Jeroen Buysee

Second Committee Member

Daniel V. Rainey

Third Committee Member

Bruce L. Ahrendsen


Marketing, pre-harvest, return, risk management, strategy, corn grain, Arkansas, farming, price risk


This paper analyzes risk and returns associated with pre-harvest corn grain marketing strategies for the state of Arkansas. Farming is characterized by a volatile environment. Numerous risks are taken by producers in order to provide commodities that are bought and sold by various parties in the supply chain. Price, yield, and production costs vary daily and can have large variation between years. Risk and Return Comparisons of Pre-harvest Marketing Strategies examines the effectiveness of using pre-harvest marketing strategies to enhance returns and to mitigate inherent price risk in the Memphis cash corn market. Thirteen strategies are compared to the October 1 Memphis, spot price and are examined through multiple parametric and nonparametric statistical tests. To supplement the statistical findings, coefficients of variation for each strategy’s annual average price received, profit per bushel, and profit per acre are compared. The nonparametric results reveal that there are significant differences in some pre-harvest marketing strategies for the state of Arkansas from marketing grain on the cash market at Memphis. The coefficient of variation comparison backs up these findings by revealing that strategies have historically had different risk and return profiles from the 2001-2017 period. World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate reports released by the USDA were used to forecast harvest-time Memphis cash price, and strategies based on these report-based forecasts were implemented to test if marketing after the release dates allows for returns greater than at the harvest cash price and with less variation.