Pearson: Welcome to the Market Plus segment on our Market to Market Web site. I'm Mark Pearson, always thrilled to have with me, Sue Martin, one of our regular market analysts talking about these markets. Sue, I'll tell you what, it seems like we're always rushing the show, we don't get to talk about things as in depth I know as you'd like to talk about them. But the soybean market has been so wild this year and now we're starting to see this bean market quite back at some levels we haven't seen in a while. To make sales or not to make sales, I've talked to a lot of producers, they've made sales, they made cash sales. What is your advice for them? Should we start looking at new crop sales?
Martin: Well, I think if we look at new crop sales on soybeans we have to realize one, we're going to have less acres of beans this next year, so beans need to fight for acres. And, of course, if we look at South America and they continue to have extension of Asia rust, there is Asia rust in 45 municipalities and seven provinces in Brazil at this time, then the Southern areas are fighting hot, dry weather. And, of course, if they don't get rain over the weekend into early this next week, they're going to start talking weather there too. So, you've got two things kind of going down there. I think you'll start seeing their crop come down, I don't think it will stay as high as it's estimated, which is around 60 million metric tons. I think that if that starts to occur that's going to start putting more push back on us to have bean acres. And from what I hear, you know, plants that sell or book nitrogen, liquid nitrogen have about triple the amount of sales on the books for this spring than what they normally have. That means corn acres. So, I think in looking at that new crop beans, I wouldn't be too anxious to sell unless I can get them up around $7.30, that would be the first place I would even entertain it.
Pearson: And hopefully those are the worst sales you make.
Martin: That's right. If those are the worst sales you make, then you're okay. I will say this, I would really emphasize that I believe this is the year where you sell your crops before the end of June for harvest. I think that, I do not see where we're going to have a weather issue this year and we've got awfully good prices. And I wouldn't be surprised that early April, the first week or so of April might be the time to really be looking at booking some new crop sales and getting rid of some old. But I certainly would have my sales made by the 21st of June this year.
Pearson: I want to talk about hogs too. Not that we've ignored hogs, but there's been so much going on with the beef side, with the Mad Cow situation, the demand, the export issues and so forth. We haven't talked much about hogs and they've staged a little bit of a rally at the start of 2004.
Martin: Well, they certainly have, Mark. But that's also somewhat seasonal in nature. But it also is being helped with a very good export market at this time, which if they're not taking beef they're going to fill that void somewhere else and pork is the lucky benefactor. Also, domestically we're using a lot of pork ourselves. So, I think that we have a hog market that should try to lift here right on into almost the Feb. expiration. Then I'd have to take another look at the June contracts and see where they're at because we could still take this June hog market backwards a little bit. But, all in all, I think that as we go through May and June we're still going to have a better hog market coming. The weekly time indicators have turned themselves up nicely and that should speak for higher levels yet as we go down the road. One more thing, back on beans for a second, I have looked at my, I looked before I left the office today and my weekly May year in/year out weekly chart on timing is extremely overdone. So, we do have to keep our eyes open on that contract.
Pearson: Good point, a little caution noted here. Sue Martin, as usual, great to have you with us. Sue Martin joining us here on our Market Plus segment here at our Market to Market Web site. Thank you and have a great week.