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Corn Futures and Options

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Corn Futures - The History of Corn

Corn Futures - The corn seed marks the beginning of one of the world's most versatile crops. For centuries corn has been a staple of everyday life, serving as a source of food, energy and currency. From the early maize crops first cultivated by the Mayans and Incas to today's advanced hybrids resistant to pests and chemicals, corn remains firmly rooted at the heart of agriculture.

Agriculture is the world's largest industry. On a worldwide basis, more people are involved with agriculture than all other occupations combined. There may be only 2 million people actively involved in production agriculture in the United States, but according to the International Food Information Council, one out of every six jobs is tied to our industry. From producer to researcher, teacher to economist and mechanic to truck driver, agriculture supports every aspect of our economy.

Advances such as pest-resistant seeds, highly mechanized equipment, precision global positioning satellite technology, and grain storage and transportation systems that maintain the quality of the crop, enable U.S. farmers to produce more high quality crops on less ground. According to the USDA, there were more than 1.1 billion acres in production spread across 5.3 million farms in 1950. Today, 2 million farmers operate on 950 million acres. While the number of farms has declined over the years, the average size continues to grow.

Corn Futures: Producing a Crop That Feeds and Fuels the World

U.S. Corn Consumption
Feed/Residual 57%
Export 19%
Ethanol 11%
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)   5%
Starch 2.5%
Sweeteners 2.2%
Cereal/Others 1.8%
Alcohol 1.3%
Seed 0.2%

How many times a day does the average American consumer use a product derived from corn? You may fill your car up with ethanol blended fuel. That soda at lunch - sweetened with a corn sweetener. Maybe you have a pillow or comforter made from corn fiber. And the pot roast for dinner - most likely corn-fed beef.

In the United States, 57 percent of the crop is fed to animals, helping livestock producers deliver affordable, high-quality meat products to consumers. The livestock industry is the corn producers' leading customer. In 2003, beef cattle were fed more than 1.4 billion bushels, while hogs consumed 1.1 billion bushels and poultry another 1.3 billion bushels.

Regardless of market, producers around the world continue to explore value-added opportunities for corn. One of the most successful efforts has been the growth of the ethanol market.

Eleven percent of U.S. production goes into ethanol, while another 19 percent or 1.9 billion bushels is exported. The balance of the crop is used for food, seed and industrial uses. Solvents, cleaners, deicers and plastics are just a handful of the hundreds of renewable, corn-based products we use every day.

Corn Futures Contract Specifications

Corn Futures

Size - 5,000 bushels

Tick Size - 1/4 of one cent per bushel ($12.50 per contract)

Daily Price Limit - $0.40/bu

Strike Price - N/A

Contract Months - Dec, Mar, May, Jul, Sep

Last Trading Day - Seventh business day preceding the last business day of the delivery month

Expiration Day - N/A

Trading Hours - Sunday to Friday: CME Globex trading from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 a.m. CT
Monday to Friday: Break in CME Globex trading from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. CT
Monday to Friday: Floor and CME Globex trading from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. CT

Mini-sized Grains trades til 1:45 p.m. CT

Ticker Symbol - C

Corn Futures Options

Size - One CBOT Corn Futures

Tick Size - 1/8 of one cent per bushel ($6.25 per contract)

Daily Price Limit - $0.40/bu

Strike Price - $0.10/bu

Contract Months - Dec, Mar, May, Jul, Sep

Last Trading Day - Last Friday preceding the first notice day of the corresponding futures contract by at least five business days.

Expiration Day - Unexercised options expire at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday following the last trading day.

Trading Hours - Sunday to Friday: CME Globex trading from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 a.m. CT
Monday to Friday: Break in CME Globex trading from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. CT
Monday to Friday: Floor and CME Globex trading from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. CT

Mini-sized Grains trades til 1:45 p.m. CT

Ticker Symbol - CY- call; PY- put

See Also: Corn Futures Special Report,  Ethanol FuturesGrain FuturesSoybean FuturesWheat Futures