Ticker: O
Exchange: CBOT
Trading Hours: Regular Hours: 10:30 - 2:15 EST.
Electronic: 9:30p.m. - 7:00 a.m. EST
Contract Size: 5,000 Bushels
Contract Months: Jul, Sep, Dec, Mar, May
Price Quote: Cents and Quarters per cent/bu.
Tick Size: cent/bu. ($12.50/contract)
Last Trading Day: The business day prior to the
15th calendar day of the contract month
Daily Price Limit: 20 cents/bu ($1,000/contract) above or below the previous day's settlement price. No limit in the spot month (limits are lifted two business days before the spot month begins).

40 Yr Seasonal Chart Long-Term Chart Productions Maps
Supply & Demand Tables Weekly Export Sales Grain Stocks
Crop Progress Supply & Demand Est. Prospective Plantings

Fundamental Overview:

Oats are mainly used as a feedgrain and are the smallest within this category of crops. The U.S. supplements its usage of oats by mainly importing from Canada. The U.S. rarely exports any sizable amount of oats. The oats futures contract is very illiquid compared to corn, soybeans and wheat. You may incur substantial slippage trading this market. Options on Oats are extremely thin.

Key Trading Notes:

Throughout the last 25+ years, oats seem to have a price floor around the $1.00 mark. Many traders used the scale trading approach from 1998 - 2000. This market tends to move slower than the other grains and can tend to lull you to sleep. Be warned, this market is fairly illiquid and can make some quick moves. With the low margins, percentage losses can add quickly.

Plantings: Look for USDA estimates of planted acres and weather during plantings. Oats are mainly produced in the upper Midwestern states. They have a relatively short growing cycle. Oats are planted around March - April and harvested in July - August.

Volatility: Weather usually causes the most volatility for Oats. The contract is fairly thin and can make some erratic moves.

Weather:The most crucial times tend to be during plantings and harvest time.

Key Reports:

  • Planting Intentions
  • - Usually released around the end of March. This gives an indication of how much and which crops the farmers expect to plant for the upcoming season. Fewer acres than expected can be bullish for that particular crop.

  • Monthly Crop Production
  • - The USDA releases a monthly update on estimates for supply and demand of crops. These reports can cause extreme movements in prices, especially during the summer months.

  • Weekly Crop Progress
  • - These reports give an indication of the current development of crops. Also compares to crop conditions in previous years to use as a benchmark. If crops are behind schedule in developing, they have a lower than normal yield and vice versa.

  • Weekly Exports
  • - A good summary of the demand from foreign countries on a weekly basis.

  • Grain Stocks
  • - The USDA provides information on the current supply of grain stocks in the U.S. and the world.

Top 5 States for Production:

1. North Dakota
2. Minnesota
3. Wisconsin
4. South Dakota
5. Iowa

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