Pearson: Welcome to the Market Plus spot here at our Market to Market Web site. I'm so glad that you've joined us here. Doug Hjort is with us this week, one of our long-time market analysts. Doug, you've been through a lot of markets and you said something on the show tonight, 35 years you've never seen a soybean market like the one we've been going through on old crop. There has been a lot of focus on old crop. It's really been the sexy news item really. Let's talk about new crop soybeans, Doug, because they're the ones that are growing in the fields right now and that is what we're going to have to hang our hats on for '04 and '05, bean demand stays up. Are these prices going to hold?
Hjort: Well, there's all kinds of question marks over that but a couple of pretty hard numbers you can look at. Number one, the planted acreage figure that came out this week, it was below expectations and yet that new crop price just kept going down and down. Part of it may have been the pressure from the corn but it just had its own head too and just wanted to move lower. The problem with it is that if you use the harvested acreage figure and use a trend line yield of 40 bushel per acre you can come up with as many or a few more beans than we'd like to use. In my opinion, that harvested acreage estimate is too high. It probably will be pulled back some but, you know, we won't know for weeks or months. And I think the yield, the trend line yield, one or the other has to happen. If you're using that large harvested acreage, corn or beans either one, you almost have to pull that yield down a little bit. Remember too on the soybeans, the big increase in acreage on soybeans came outside the Corn Belt. Yield in those states where they increased is about 20-25% less on average than what you get right through the Corn Belt and we had a decrease in acreage in the Corn Belt. So, you've got more acres out there but, you know, it doesn't justify using that 40 bushel per acre trend line yield if you're going to factor all of this stuff in, the big increase in North Dakota, for example, and the increases down South. Remember too that down South, you know, they planted early, they planted more acres to beans in hopes of getting some of that higher priced stuff before you get to the November contract. Well, they've had tremendous rains down there and flooding and agronomists are saying now that whatever advantage they had for an early harvest is pretty well gone, probably looking at about an average harvest date. There are lots of question marks there but demand for protein is still very good, of course. And how does the old crop demand, how high does that price have to go and will it have through July and August the strength to pull the new crop up with it? I think that's something to really watch for. Next week I would look, even if weather is good, if we get the good rains, not too much but just enough and the good growing conditions across the Corn Belt I would still look for the soybean, new crop beans to find a bottom and then start to trade and look for trying to get some answers to some of these question marks now. I think there will be some rally potential there, probably looking at making some marketing recommendations or taking action because even at the depressed price we're at now, historically speaking it's still pretty good for harvest delivery soybeans. So, probably don't want to pass that up but I wouldn't jump on it too quickly here. We went through a very traumatic period this past week, acreages, prices dropping, plunging, all this sort of stuff. That's going to level off here and we should see some markets trading again. That might be the time to start looking at doing some marketing.
Pearson: Still plenty of volatility to get your shot.
Pearson: Okay, good as usual. Great to have you with us, Doug Hjort joining us here on our Market Plus segment here at our Market to Market Web site. And you can really help us out by mentioning the Market Plus segment to your friends, have them join us here online. And for all of us here on Market to Market, I'm Mark Pearson, have a great week.