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Market Plus: Feb 03, 2006

posted on February 3, 2006

Market Plus: Feb 03, 2006

Pearson: Thank you for joining us here for the Market Plus segment here on our Market to Market Web site. Glad you've joined us, tell your friends and neighbors, like to have everybody join us here in the world wide network. This week Doug Hjort was with us. Doug, we talked a lot about wheat, you mentioned I think the National Grain Commission which again we're not setting up to have huge wheat yields, at least. And I know that we're always talking about losing that winter wheat crop and somehow it seems like it pulls through. This year is about as bad a year from a drought standpoint in a big part of the southern plains as we've seen in a decade.

Hjort: Well, that's right and it's not just here. We've had the extreme cold in Russia and Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Argentina's crop was down this year significantly, 20% I think it was, around that. So, we're looking at less wheat being produced. Yeah, I hear what you're saying about wheat being able to come back from the dead and it does a lot of times. But when you look at the demand side, world consumption of wheat, you're talking about this past year 622 million tons, production was just about 617 million ton this past year, a new record high. So, take 20 million off as the International Grain Council suggested last week you're talking about this supply/demand relationship and stocks dropping to the lowest level in, well ever probably. The stocks to use ratio, I'm sorry, not the stock itself. Now, we've had, two years ago we had a very, very tight world supply/demand relationship on wheat and prices didn't go up, prices have averaged the same thing for three years in a row now. But the difference is that the surplus was in the developed countries. The poor countries were short, they don't have the money to buy the wheat so it doesn't make much difference. If you don't have wheat prices going sharply higher you have to have a shortage in one of the developed countries of the world. So, Russia, China, U.S. and so on. And that, it looks like a very strong possibility that we could see that this year. That's why I'm a little hesitant to pull the pin and start selling new crop and yet new crop futures in Kansas City and Minneapolis over $4, a pretty good place to start doing something. The Chicago market, of course, is down 50-70 cents below Kansas City and Minneapolis respectively. You've got a surplus of soft red winter wheat versus the shortage of the hard red winter wheat. When you look at the new crop you've got a 19% increase in the soft red winter wheat acreage and no increase in the hard red winter wheat plus that real stress down there in the southern plains. And moving into the central plains, by the way, it's not just isolated now to Texas and Oklahoma. So, I think there is a possibility these wheat prices could pop pretty good. You have to keep in mind though we've got an abundance of corn, we've got an abundance of course grains worldwide and the soybean picture is just absolutely bearish, bearish. So, try to take wheat prices up considerably from where they're at now, with that situation going on that's going to be tough but do think wheat prices could move up from this current level.

Pearson: On the show we talked about the fed cattle market which you talked about being under pressure and the fact that we don't see a lot of near term recovery back to the high 90's like we had on fed cattle. But decent prices down the list. Hog market you talked about the fact it was off ten dollars. We didn't talk about this calf market which to me seems still fairly strong when you look out ahead and look at what this fed cattle market is doing.

Hjort: Well, it really is and you look out, I think we've been lulled to sleep in the meat markets, these higher prices that we've seen. As a matter of fact I can remember saying it on the show back months ago that I felt real comfortable that these prices were up at this level, I think I was talking $90, $88 cattle at that time, fat cattle and feeders up, you know, something over $100 and the calves over $120. And I think maybe that is still true but we've got a lot of concern up here and I think we've kind of burned ourselves out up here with these high meat prices at retail, the abundance of poultry right at the moment here now, well over the last several months, expecting hog prices more than anything. But if hog prices and poultry prices are going down or are under pressure the cattle are going to feel some of that too. Now, in the calf market looking ahead to fall I don't know that I'd do any pricing right now but boy I'd be in touch with the buyer and see what you can get done for that because historically speaking we're still at very high prices for these calves and feeders both.

Pearson: Might be a good prudent business decision. Doug Hjort, that's all the time we have for Market Plus. Thank you for being with us. From all of us here on Market to Market, I'm Mark Pearson. Have a great week.


Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news wheat