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Market Plus: Jan 21, 2005

posted on January 21, 2005

Market Plus: Jan 21, 2005

Pearson: Hey, thanks for joining us here at our Market Plus Web site on our Market to Market Web page. I'm Mark Pearson. This week Sue Martin with us from Ag and Investment Services. Sue, I'll tell you what, you start looking ahead at maybe shifting some US corn acres from beans -- US bean acres from beans to corn -- with this rust being such a question mark in the US this year. And it's kind of a softening of demand you talked about on the show. It could be interesting what happens with corn prices this year. Should you look at pricing some new crop, some of those December corn contracts up there and start getting some pricing? Are you very nervous about it?

Martin: Well, I think that when we look at the charts, Mark, there is resistance around this -- a lot of resistance around $2.40 on Dec. corn and conversely there is a lot of support around $2.17 to $2.24. I think that on the Dec. corn, if you cling to a spring that has got some moisture here -- subsoil moisture seems pretty decent in a lot of areas this year -- so you're going to have a chance or a thought process that you're going to get the crop off to a good start. Okay, having said that then I think that this $2.40 area is going to be a tough area. And so any bounces up around $2.34, $2.36 I would probably look to do some selling. We may be range bound for a while in this corn market. Then it is going to take getting some weather issues, a scare in the weather to start whittling the psychology backwards away from all these acres that we're going to have this next year because we could gain 1.7 to 2, 2.5 million acres this next year on corn.

Pearson: That could translate into some price discrepancy. Again, depending on weather -- we don't know what Mother Nature is going to be doing -- but historically up around that $2.40 area you may want to look at --

Martin: Well, I think that is true, Mark. And the key here is that you've got an Argentine crop that is bigger than it was a year ago. And so they are going to be very competitive with us. And then you've got a situation where we've got all this feed wheat in the world market and we've also got some other traditional markets that we used to export to that are going to start going elsewhere. All of a sudden we've got some export issues here with this corn market. And so I think that we need to find some markets here to, you know, some alternative markets that we didn't have.

Pearson: I want to talk to you about this calf market. The feeder market has been strong as the corn softened up. And, of course, we used to get a lot of our calves out of Canada. You pointed out on the show a lot of our calves are coming up from Mexico. So, how do you -- what do you tell this cow/calf producer out here in terms of these feeder calf prices going forward? It was such a tremendous year in 2004, it's going to be hard to top that one. Cyclically it's always tough through that anyway. What is ahead for this feeder market? What do you tell a cow/calf person right now?

Martin: Well, I think that the feeder market is kind of interesting right now because we are picking up -- in fact, Mexico has just about picked up the slack of what we weren't getting out of Canada -- and that is kind of amazing because one would have not given that thought. But the demand has remained pretty good for feeders at this time. And, of course, wheat pastures are in good condition, you've got good grasses coming in other areas. And so I think that what we've got going here is a situation where demand has remained pretty good and pretty confident in the feeder market. But having said that we're still a notch down from where we were a year ago and I think that your highs were put in in August in feeders and so I don't see this feeder market doing a lot higher but it might kill time in here. We might ratch it up another couple dollars or something like that on board price. But, again, I would make sure I have feeders hedged.

Martin: This is probably the year where you don't try to say I'm going for the top. You try to pick a price that you can be happy with and make some good money and then go from there and try to save because August feeders next year around $100. That is a pretty good ticket and while it might get a little higher I don't know as if we can get a whole lot higher. This may be a year where you don't actually end up spending a lot of money in margin money but yet you might not hit that top.

Pearson: But you'll at least have that coverage.

Martin: I think a person needs that coverage for this year going forward.

Pearson: Alright, as usual some great insights. Thank you so much. Sue Martin, joining us this week on Market to Market and our Market Plus page. Thank you for joining us. And don't forget to tell your friends and neighbors that we're here. We'd love to have them join us on the Market Plus site as well. For all of us here on Market to Market, I'm Mark Pearson, have a great week.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news