An evaluation of strategies for hedging feeder cattle in the Pacific Northwest Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2514np79n

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  • Over the past decade, feeder cattle backgrounders in the Pacific Northwest have been subject to sharp price fluctuations for their output. The result has been variable profits and losses. This situation creates a need for management and marketing techniques which can provide Pacific Northwest cattle ranchers with protection against price risks while enhancing the profitability of their operations. Recent economic literature has shown hedging with futures contracts to be an effective tool for mitigating risk and/or increasing the net revenues of cattle producers in a number of regions of the United States. The objective of this research was to determine whether hedging with futures contracts could have increased the profitability of Pacific Northwest feeder cattle production while decreasing the effects of price volatiliy. To realize this objective, the economic performance of alternative hedging strategies were evaluated for several methods of feeder cattle backgrounding indigenous to the Pacific Northwest region. Four hedging strategies -- routine, moving average, profit objective, and triangular probability distribution — were evaluated for hedging the output of four simulated production systems. The mean and standard deviation of annual net returns were computed for each hedging strategy to serve as measures of profitability and risk, respectively. The results of not hedging were also obtained to provide a basis for comparing alternative hedging programs. Sample t and F tests were conducted to determine whether there were statistically significant differences between the means and standard deviations of the unhedged and hedged positions. Dominant hedging strategies were then identified for each production system. Based on the results of the mean-variance analysis, it appears that the use of selective futures market hedging strategies would have provided greater and more stable levels of profit compared to the net incomes obtained without hedging. Sample t and F tests, using 80 and 90 percent levels of significance respectively, showed that hedging could have significantly decreased the variability of the producer's flow of income without significantly changing the operation's average profitability. Moving average, profit objective, and triangular probability distribution strategies were dominant, increased average profitability, and significantly lowered risk for at least one production system each. Overall, moving average strategies generated the highest mean profits with the greatest risk. Profit objective strategies generally resulted in lower mean profit than moving average strategies but with less risk. The risks and returns from hedging with triangular probability distribution strategies were usually between the moving average and profit objective procedures. Strategies which performed well in this study should also perform well in the future if conditions in the feeder cattle markets do not vary substantially from those of the previous decade. Thus, hedging with futures market contracts may provide the Pacific Northwest feeder cattle producers with protection against price risk and enhanced profitability.
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