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Market Plus: Apr 13, 2007: Sue Martin, Ag and Investment Services

posted on April 13, 2007

Market Plus: Apr 13, 2007: Sue Martin, Ag and Investment Services Pearson: Welcome to the Friday, April 13th, 2007 version of our Market Plus segment here at our Market to Market Website. I'm Mark Pearson, thanks so much for being a part of it. Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors to join us here. This week one of our senior analysts, Sue Martin, is with us. And Sue, it's been a wild week weather wise, we've had wild gyrations in the wheat market to the up side, surprisingly not much movement really overall in the corn market despite freezing cold temperatures, unseasonably cold temperatures, snow, ice, all kinds of issues out there, the market didn't move much. You talked about wheat on the show tonight and the fact that there's some real concerns about damage particularly to the soft red wheat crop.

Martin: Well, there certainly is and I think that the concern has been that the soft red wheat, you know, last fall it had a hard time getting in and then it sat under water and then they thought, okay, maybe it was going to make it through and then it got nailed with this freeze. And so I'm hearing that almost 40% of the crop could be gone. That continues to make our stock situation even tighter and then you look at the hard red winter wheat which, you know, some say well but if the price rallies much more we'll price ourself out in the world market but yet it's also creating, the U.S. market is creating this situation to have extremely tight supplies. And my concern is, is that maybe now the rest of the world starts to awaken because Canada has three million metric tons less of wheat to sell and you've got China looking at, you know, some issues on 25% of their wheat and then all of a sudden you've got the Black Sea and Russia also talking some issues where weather hasn't been kind and not everything is just perfectly good like you would have believed maybe a month ago or a month and a half ago. I think that producers do need to protect themselves because in the past normally when you get a year like this the prices rally sharply and then they fall back into harvest. So, I would place some puts underneath and protect yourself. It's very rare but there have been a few occasions over the last 35, 40 years where you have had an April harvest low. And so it's possible that our harvest low is in on this wheat. And if that's the case you could see Minneapolis, not Minneapolis, I'm sorry, you could see KC wheat go up to maybe as high as $5.62, that was an original target that never really fully got met and it's possible it could do that. In the meantime soft red wheat, Chicago wheat, you know, that was the one that had a lot of shorts in it where if they were going to buy something they'd go buy the KC and sell the Chicago or they'd buy corn and sell Chicago wheat. You know, I mean, they were just kind of using it as the step-sister and so some of that rally has probably been the short covering of the market as well. I guess I would have to say I'd be very cautious about this market because world stocks are so tight.

Pearson: Alright, with that in mind so maybe not jump right up there at this first run up here in this wheat market. Maybe you sit back and see what happens, get yourself a floor.

Martin: Exactly, and we're going to lose acres when we originally thought we had gained acres. And so we're going to lose some acres to something else. Is it corn? I don't know if I would see a lot of wheat acres go to corn. I think it will either go to soybeans, maybe sorghum, something like that. Now we've got alfalfa acres to also think about and the alfalfa crop I think is hurt out there and we already lost a lot of alfalfa acres to corn anyway. We may still pick up corn acres off of that, it's hard to say, but corn is one of the items that we're looking at. And all this talk, you know, if we thought we started in January talking about acres for the prospective plantings report think how important this final report at the end of June is going to be, we're talking it and we're just going to have it so emotional between now and then and if we're losing acres of corn down in the South that's going to get re-planted to either beans or wheat well all of this is going to probably show up in that report at the end of June. And so I think we're in a very emotional time. The market will look at the weather forecast and it won't even wait for the forecast to be there for the tractors to roll, it will anticipate it ahead. So, I look for the corn even though it could still be stronger early next week I think we put a high in and then we sit back and take a look at these lows. I'm still looking for the market to make lower lows on Dec. corn and on July corn which was, I think the low was right around $3.55. And I think you'll come back and take that low out. I don't think you take it out by much, at the most extreme maybe you take it down to $3.40, $3.41 but I suspect you might only take it out by a couple of cents and then you turn right around and come out of here. The year that we're kind of similar to the most in market behavior seems to be the year of 1974 and that was a year where you had $3.53 on July corn in the month of February, broke $1.06 off the high into April's lows, bounced quite sharply and then came right back down into May 7th for a low that was a little bit lower than the previous one and then you turned up and you put $1.01 back on.

Pearson: That was a very volatile year, that was the year of the grain agreements and grain sales to the former Soviet Union, there were some weather issues that year. It was a wild year, '74 does remind me a lot of what's happening in 2007.

Martin: And we're volatile all year, I mean, because we even came back with an early freeze, killing freeze that year and then, in fact, the Farm Progress Show was at Vincent, Iowa that fall and the beans were black. We had an early September hard freeze and the markets peaked right at the time of that Farm Progress Show.

Pearson: Could be interesting, anyway, either way, Sue, it's going to be volatile for wheat, corn and beans this summer.

Martin: Oh, I think we're in for a fun year, exciting year, one that has a lot of profit potential but along with that, of course, risk.

Pearson: Alright, Sue Martin, appreciate you joining us here on the Market Plus segment. For all of us here at Market to Market, I'm Mark Pearson, have a great weekend.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news sorghum