Iowa Public Television


Market Plus: Oct 01, 2004

posted on October 1, 2004

Market Plus: Oct 01, 2004 Pearson:Welcome to the Market Plus segment here at our Market to Market Web site, I'm Mark Pearson. Two of our senior analysts with us this week covering the grains and livestock, Walt Hackney and Doug Jackson. Alright, Doug, we've been talking about beans with you all summer, so much so that Walt is tired of hearing about soybeans, but we're going to do it one more time because we have gone from meteoric highs in soybeans to what could be meteoric lows if what you're saying in South America would come true.

Jackson: Well, that's right Mark, it's been an incredible roller coaster ride and of course what is coming to pass is what, of course, we would have feared if -- we all know that if you'd hit on all cylinders with both North and South American production that you can rebury the oil seed situation, South American acreage is up 15% last year, it's projected to be up 8-10% this year. And so even though their cost of production have risen dramatically, maybe a dollar a bushel, in fact in South America as they try to control rust the fact of the matter is that it looks like world oil seed production is going to explode this year and rebury us in more than adequate supplies. And once we get into that kind of a situation in the United States where we're not fighting a rationing kind of a situation, the phenomenon we had a year ago, then of course we descend immediately into the sub loan environment or the marketing loan program. And right now you're going to have basically a North and South American producer that is literally holding 180 million tons of production or potential production and they're afraid to pull the trigger. So, even though the lack of farmers selling may temporarily suspend us here eventually those are the people that are going to have to sell this thing and they can drive it in the ground. We've had, as I said earlier, three cases since '99 when we've been below five dollars and we kind of tend to forget that. We've had futures as low as $4.33 in the springtime in 2001-2002 and we can certainly go back there again as hard as that is to imagine. So, we could have over a dollar a bushel downside in the May futures from where we are today. So, again, maybe we'll have a major disaster and a drought in South America, there is dry weather developing in Argentina already. But even with a moderate problem down there we still think we're going to move into one of the most surplus, oversupplied situations on a hemispheric basis that we've ever seen and you could take futures down a dollar from here.

Pearson: Alright, well on that upbeat note -- Walter, let's talk a little bit about this feeder cattle market. It's high, it's strong and people don't seem to be backing off from them. And Doug just gave you the scenario on beans or bean meal costs are going to be down, corn is getting cheaper all the time. What is ahead for cattlemen trying to fill a feedlot and buying these feeders?

Hackney: Most of them are ignoring the potential of cheap rations right now, particularly the guys that are buying the yearling cattle, Mark. That market is as good probably as it's been all summer long regardless of where fed cattle prices have been. These guys that are out here on eight weight yearlings and are given $1.15 a hundred weight up to $1.20, their opportunities are very limited as far as any kind of a hedge, there simply is none. The point being with the crop, with the potential of a buck and a half corn it would seem to me that there is more realism in a light animal that you can extend the feeding program picking up maybe eight hundred pounds, seven hundred pounds of gain on him regardless of what your maintenance ration initially was like and so forth, the ensilage, now we get into the corn base as the last 200 pounds go. That calf makes more sense. The calf market hasn't changed very much. We hit highs of a buck and a quarter at $5.50 on those calves back some time in mid-summer. It's still in that range in the ranch country and with plus the areas we're getting into wean calves which also enhances their value to the cattle feeder. So, the point being, it would seem to me that the target may be, instead of yearlings, may be on these calves and we're in the flesh of those calves now. We're starting to see huge numbers.

Pearson: Excellent, Walter as usual, some good insights, looking for those light calves, four to fives and buy them now. Walter, Doug, thank you so much. That'll wrap up this edition of Market Plus. Thanks for joining us, be sure to tell your friends and neighbors. I'm Mark Pearson, for all of us here on Market to Market, have a great week.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news