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Market Plus: May 05, 2006

posted on May 5, 2006

Market Plus: May 05, 2006

Pearson: Thanks for joining us for the Market Plus segment here at our Market to Market Website, Mark Pearson along with Doug Hjort, one of our senior analysts with us this week. And, Doug, we talked a lot about the wheat market on the show. We didn't get to one, when you talk about wheat you're talking about really so many different proteins and varieties. We didn't talk about durham, we've got a lot of friends up in North Dakota and your home turf in northeast Montana. What are these durham guys -- that's got to be a pretty exciting market?

Hjort: It really is. You know, the producers in Canada and the United States both so disappointed with their durham prices from last year's crop that they both decided to cut back acreage dramatically, 30-35%. If that holds I can see durham prices just moving sharply higher over the next year. Already since the Canadian crop came out, or report here a couple of weeks ago we're up about 12-15 cents in a lot of markets. The average price for durham about 25 cents since the March 31st prospective planting report here in the U.S.. That sort of acreage cut in two of the big producers in the world, that is dramatic. I've got to believe that farmers saw some of those numbers and are planting a few more acres of durham and cutting back a little bit on the spring wheat. But, you know, spring wheat prices are high too. They're looking much better than they have for a long time. But I think, you know, it's getting a little late to start switching planting plans right now. But that durham, I would not be selling any durham wheat or I wouldn't be forward contracting any of that this year.

Pearson: Alright, so don't get in a rush if you're up there to make sales because better times are coming.

Hjort: Yep.

Pearson: Alright, let's talk a little bit -- we're talking about the wheat market, the hard red market and Kansas City wheat and you were of a mind there also that we're on the bubble right now. And, of course, a lot is going to happen between now and harvest first of all. But we're on the bubble right now in terms of just what the quality and quantity of this crop could be.

Hjort: We really are and, of course, we've got the safety net under us of enough wheat from the old crop to start the new year with. However, there again as you mentioned, all the different classes of wheat. We've got a surplus of soft red winter wheat. That is the stuff in the Corn Belt and the delta and so on. But we've got a shortage of hard red winter wheat, this is old crop stuff. And now the hard red winter wheat crop this year is going to be, or is the most stressed of any of them. So, that hard red winter wheat class is going to stay very strong even if the production does come up a little bit from current estimates.

Hjort: And understand, these early estimates, the USDA comes out on the 12th now, a week from today, a week from Friday now with their first winter wheat crop production report. And that is expected to show a pretty small winter wheat crop. And some analysts are saying we could take ending stocks of wheat a year from now down, oh, 450 million bushels or so which would be very, very, very tight. You still have this disparity with plenty of soft red, not enough of the hards and so on, but, and not enough of durham. But you're looking at the potential here if the soft red crop doesn't come on at normal yields, the hard red drops off a little more, spring wheat maybe isn't quite up to par wheat prices could move sharply higher over the next several months, even in the next year. But, for right now, I think we are on a bubble and I think some sales should be made right now.

Pearson: Alright, Doug, we appreciate your insights as usual. Doug Hjort joining us this week on Market to Market and here at the Market Plus Website. Thank you for joining us, be sure to tell your friends and neighbors about where we are on the Web. For all of us here on Market to Market, I'm Mark Pearson, have a great week.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news wheat