There seems to be no shortage of grain in the world. That is why i think that perception is a valid, and most accurate, way to view futures pricing in the casino and how they move. If a person thinks that is valid then if you can mange perception then you can manage price movements which is saying price fixing. And the more cash settlements allowed makes it easier to move perception /prices rather than if you actually had to take delivery of the commodity before initiating another trade.
The thing is, crop production is variable but perhaps on a global scale it is not that variable.
Here is something i am wondering regarding oil and so we can apply it to futures:
You can estimate oil production within a couple % looking forward say 6 months. Lets say you own 100 wells, it should be fairly easy to know how much will be pumped next week and 6 months from now. Expand that thinking to all oil pumped in the world. Is it fair to say production is known pretty close in 6 months. How about consumption, is there anything that really changes much in the world to change consumption habits more than 5%? Even a real cold snap in one part of the world, would that really move consumption? So, if we could argue production and consumption is pretty predictable then why does price move significantly over a 12 month window based on "news" ? Should it not be quite rock steady? Or is it the nature of futures trading that creates volatility which in turn creates opportunities at the casino? If that is true then it is nothing to do with supply/demand that changes price, it is in fact the futures market driven by perception.
If we accept that as true, can we still say futures price trading (via the casino, not a simple contract being farmer and buyer) always help the farmer?
Just throwing it out there, i need to think on it more but perhaps others can flesh it out.