Iowa Public Television


Market Plus: Oct 03, 2003

posted on October 3, 2003

Market Plus: Oct 03, 2003

Pearson: Welcome to the Market Plus page on our Market to Market Web site, glad you've joined us, make sure you tell your friends. These markets have been extremely volatile and we really appreciate the kind comments that you're sending to us regarding Market Plus. Let's get right to it, we have Doug Jackson and Walt Hackney with us this week and of course we've got this record beef market, we're going to talk with Walt about that. But this bean market has been as volatile as it's been I guess in the last six years, Doug, since we've seen these kinds of numbers in beans? People are thinking, what's ahead? Can this thing get even better?

Jackson: Well, that's right Mark. We're at six year highs, the futures market has rallied about a dollar eighty cents a bushel almost nonstop and of course this is all because we've found out that the late season drought which I suppose common sensically we should have known was taking a toll on bean protection, in fact did take a substantial toll on bean production and the great surprise that's driven this thing nonstop was many bean yields, that in many cases are only half of what they were a year ago, half of what people expected them to be. And so the basic question of how big this crop is in the US is still to be determined. But more fundamentally, of course, we may come out of this situation after this major move with a further realization of the diminished role of the US agriculture in this total bean price determination, bean supply/demand circumstance. Some are estimating now that South American production this coming year, of course a crop that's not planted yet, but could reach over a hundred million tons. That would be 38% bigger than the US crop this year. So, the US role is rapidly diminishing as we stagnate with acres and have several years of bad Augusts in a row while South American acreage continues to expand at nearly three million hectares or almost six million acres per year, year after year. So, to some degree the US is being left in the dust here and the question is, what are we going to do with bean prices? What is sustainable after we answer this question of US crop size? It's one thing to buy on the rumor, it's another thing to sustain the price on the fact. And in fact, some of our western hemisphere modeling would suggest that we're already somewhat overvalued even if the crop is smaller in the US. So, really a situation where, again, we may want to make sales into any rallies associated with this October crop report.

Pearson: Very good, so selling to the rallies on the beans. Walt Hackney, these cow/calf guys have got to be thrilled, they've got to be smiling all the way to the bank right now.

Hackney: Well, they deserve it, Mark, as you'd be willing to admit also. These guys have had some extraordinarily tough years over the past seven, eight years. Do they deserve this kind of a market? I don't know. They may be feeding on themselves. You've got ninety-nine dollar, nine hundred pound black Angus heifer cattle out here today for the feedlot, you've got eight hundred and fifty pound steers at $1.06 a pound, you've got Montana five hundred and twenty-five pound calves coming off the cows this month at $1.10 to $1.15 plus freight to whomever, five dollars to the Corn Belt. When it ends, Mark, it will come so abrupt that the producer sector is going to be so flat-footed, I hope it doesn't. I don't want to see an end but it will and we all know this. So, what we're trying to do is trying to advise a little bit that the buyer of the feeder cattle go to his broker and in some form take out some kind of a floor on these cattle. Mark, for March delivery to the packer some of these feeder cattle they're buying today have got an eighty-seven to eighty-seven and a half break even, lend thirteen hundred. I say this with all respect, it might take a prayer book to make them work.

Pearson: Alright, the prayer book is our last resort in this marketing world but it sometimes happens. Walter, Doug, thank you so much Reverend Hackney, we'll have more coming up so be sure to join us again next week for Market Plus here at our Market to Market Web site.

Tags: agriculture beef commodity prices markets meat news