Market to Market - May 10, 2024

Market to Market | Episode
May 10, 2024 | 27 min

On this edition of Market to Market ...

Another week of deadly weather across the country. Meat exports vary but one thing is for sure - values are up. Delays in planting highlight Plant 24. And, commodity market analysis with Dan Hueber.


Coming up on Market to Market –

Another week of deadly weather across the country. Meat exports vary but one thing is for sure - values are up. Delays in planting highlight Plant 24. And commodity market analysis with Dan Hueber, next.

What's next doesn't happen by chance. It happens when researchers and farmers work together to solve tomorrow's agronomic challenges. We're committed to creating what's next because at Pioneer, our name is our mission.


Family owned and operated for more than 60 years, Sukup Manufacturing is a full-service provider of grain handling, storage and drying equipment, helping farmers feed and fuel the world.


For over 45 years, Steiner Tractor Parts has shared your love of antique tractors. New parts for old tractors. Learn more at or at 877-559-7887.


Tomorrow. For over 100 years, we have worked to help our customers be ready for tomorrow. Trust in tomorrow. Information is available from a Grinnell Mutual agent today.


This is the Friday, May 10th edition of Market to Market, the Weekly Journal of Rural America.

Hello. I’m Paul Yeager.

If you were to draw a line from the Texas panhandle north to Canada and then look east, you’d see hundreds of reported tornadoes in just the last fortnight.

The tally through Thursday is one short of 700 for the year. The majority have come in the last two weeks and are well above the historical pace.

Iowa only trails Texas for most reports of 2024 with the rest of Tornado Alley close behind.

Hail and damaging winds have also been a part of the systems which have knocked out power to at least half a million Americans.

This has been an active time according to the Storm Prediction Center.

A doorbell camera in Portage, Michigan captured the precise moment a tornado this home on Tuesday - kicking over decades-old trees like toys.

The aftermath confirmed the severity - more than a dozen injured with a major clean up ahead.

Sheriff Richard Fuller, Kalamazoo County: "We're looking at homes throughout this community that are totally gone. They've been demolished. We know people were in some of those homes. We've found homes on their side and upside down."

A nearby FedEx building had its roof peeled off by one of the storms going through the area.

The 2nd tornado in five weeks ripped through Barnsdall, Oklahoma. The town north of Tulsa was hit by one of 17 twisters that hit the state Monday and Tuesday. Its path was easily visible from the air with downed trees and damaged structures marking the way.

Central Tennessee was also impacted this week. Here in Columbia, residents had little time to respond to the storm that hit at dinner time.

Sam Barnes, Spring Hill, Tennessee resident: "I mean, the force was so strong coming through our basement that it blew the doors out, going to the back of the house from what was coming through the house, from the upstairs."

Several systems sweeping across the area dropped heavy rains.

The weekly precipitation map reveals many of the same areas with severe damage were inundated by rain. The yellows here indicate between eight and 12 inches of rainfall.

Rivers that just weeks ago were well below normal have filled and some have even spilled out of their banks in Iowa. Consecutive weeks of rain have begun to add up - delaying spring field work. However, short-term improvements visible on the surface have yet to erase precipitation and groundwater deficits.

The Drought Monitor reflects the pattern change. Over the last few weeks, improvement nationally has occurred as big rains from the Pacific West to the Eastern Shore have alleviated some of the more severe conditions. Overall, areas in the U.S. that are out of drought have risen to 65.33 percent - the highest level since May 26, 2020.

Meat prices from gate to plate have been higher the last two years.

A new report from Texas A and M focuses on the store side of the equation. The Food Price Predictor reveals modest increases coming for most beef and pork cuts this summer with poultry decreasing over the grilling season.

The value of all meat products also matters when it comes to exports.

David Miller looks at that side of the equation in this report.

Several factors have been helping cattle and hog producers get a little more for their products in recent months. Increases in the amount and value of meat exported to other countries have been part of the equation pushing prices higher.

U.S. exports of pork in March were up less than one-tenth of one percent over a year ago at 260,430 metric tons and the product was worth two percent more at $740 million. According to recently released USDA data, compiled by the United States Meat Export Federation, an agency funded in part by check-off dollars, Mexico continues to be the number one market for U.S. pork. Despite its number one status, total tonnage was off more than 10 percent and the value of the product dropped about as much to $178 million. However, first quarter sales are up nearly 5 percent and revenues are just over 6 percent higher.

Pork exports to the rest of the world were mixed. Shipments to Australia, New Zealand and other points in the South Pacific skyrocketed by 150 percent. Exports to Japan and the Philippines trended slightly lower. Sales to China, the number one buyer of U.S. pork variety meats, fell by 4 percent in volume and more than 15 percent in value to $195 million.

Analysts at the National Pork Board, which also receives check-off dollars, feel that exports will be key to making a profit going forward but they don’t expect China demand to be a factor. Further, they believe U.S. exporters are facing economic headwinds in some Central American and Asian markets due to increased competition from Brazil.

Worldwide exports of U.S. beef moved lower when compared to last year.  Even though the total tonnage was off 10 percent at 108,218 metric tons the value stayed nearly even with last year at this time at $890 million. The market leader continues to be South Korea, however volumes were lower than a year ago but the product brought in a little bit more revenue at just over $210 million.

First quarter beef exports to Canada, America’s number one trading partner, dipped slightly from a year ago while export value was nearly 20 percent higher at $194 million.

Year-over-year exports to China, America’s number three trading partner, also trended lower in March, falling nearly 15 percent in volume and by more than 10 percent in dollar value to $168 million.

March beef export volume to Mexico fell 5 percent below the year-ago level, but the export value increased by nearly as much.

Economic analysts at USMEF say it’s a challenging situation in terms of supply availability, but the value that U.S. beef commands internationally is encouraging.

For Market to Market, I’m David Miller.

Rain paused for some parts of the grain belt by week’s end - allowing for Plant 24 to restart.

As the pictures start to roll in from Canada, Nebraska and Kansas producers in other locations are still on the sidelines. More in this report from Peter Tubbs.

Widespread rain over the corn belt has slowed planting progress.

The recent rains sapped the momentum that dry weather had generated for farmers, which had planted faster than average in April.

Nationally, 36 percent of the corn crop is in the ground, in line with the five-year average.

The pace of planting slowed in Iowa, which now has 36 percent of the corn crop in the ground, which is 19 points ahead of average. Corn planting in Ohio is 14 points ahead of average.

Rain in Nebraska and Illinois have pushed corn planting in those states over 17 points behind the 5-year average.

Due to a dry April, Ohio is still 10 points ahead of schedule, but consistent rain may put farmers behind. Neighboring Indiana is nine points behind average, while Nebraska is 10 points slow.

The majority of the annual corn and soybean crops are planted in three-week windows, which vary from state to state.

The Midwest has seen rainfall increase 5 to 15 percent since 1995, with Ohio experiencing a loss of five April field work days over the last 30 years. The region is expected to see rainfall increase 8 to 20 percent over the next 25 years.

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.

Next, the Market to Market report.

The word of gov on Friday reported lower production in Brazil and Argentina while wheat exports were higher. For the week, the nearby wheat contract was up 41 cents and the July corn contract added a dime. USDA cuts to production numbers for Brazil caused a brief flurry of activity but ultimately the final session closed near even with last Friday. The July soybean contract gained 4 cents while July meal shed 30 cents per ton. July cotton shrank by 61 cents per hundredweight. Over in the dairy parlor, June Class Three milk futures surged higher again, this time by $1.25. The livestock market was lower. June cattle fell 53 cents. August feeders cut $3.85. And the June lean hog contract subtracted 57 cents. In the currency markets, the US dollar index added 26 ticks. June crude oil was up 2 cents per barrel. COMEX gold improved by $66.70 per ounce. And the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index was up almost 5 points, to settle at 578.70.

Yeager: Joining us now, regular Market Analyst and coiner of the phrase, word of gov, Dan Hueber. I like that, Dan.

Hueber: It kind of sums it all up.

Yeager: What did the word of gov say to you today?

Hueber: Really was nothing shocking in there. If anything, I would say the Brazilian bean crop was not reduced and they are well above most of the private estimates out there. So, maybe something you can look forward to later. Or, maybe the USDA knows something we don't know as far as what the production is down there. But I don't think that's the case. But outside of that, the domestic number is a little bit positive as far as carryout, projected carryout. Nothing that you would look at and say bullish by any stretch, particularly in the long-term picture in the soybean market, both domestic and global. But the market is coming into the last few weeks the market we know was heavily short and this is the time of the year sometimes it's a little bit challenging to be on the short side, which I think some large specs have found out here recently.

Yeager: Folks who have your vocation were discussing this afternoon that they didn't agree -- first they said they agreed with your sentiment on soybeans, the thinking that looks a little bit more bearish, then somebody else said no. But there was this concern that maybe there wasn't enough cut out of Brazil and their production. What do you see?

Hueber: Oh, and I tend to agree with that. The challenge is you really can't cut enough to turn the situation to one that is truly positive. Some of the estimates I've seen, I think the USDA was 152 today, I don't remember the exact number, I've seen some as low as 145. And even if you sliced it off that far, you're still looking at 13, 14 million metric tons more than a year ago. You're 500 million bushel. So, like I say, we're not going to slice that much out of it. And I say, when you look at total South American crops, so it's just not a situation you can ultimately make bullish unless we really ran into a serious, serious weather issue here.

Yeager: And the Argentinean strike is not necessarily going to reflect in a USDA report given it's so new, and neither is, I guess this is the question, neither does the weather from the last two weeks?

Hueber: The weather over the last two weeks would not fit into this number, no. But that said, and I had read some reports this week that southern Rio de Grande do Sul region where they're having so much rain and flooding and various things at this point. You might be able to take 1 to 2 million metric tons off because of that. But here again too, 1 or 2 million metric tons is not going to change it to a bullish scenario.

Yeager: Are the bulls still in the wheat market?

Hueber: Well, I don't know if the bulls have really been in the wheat market.

Yeager: You don't think so?

Hueber: I think you've had a lot of shorts who have wanted to get out of the wheat market and is translated back over in the corn and wheat. But once you scratch the surface on any of these it's hard to find really a bullish story. I think we came in overly loaded to the negative side and I think those people have been scattering for the hills. We, interestingly enough, and it did comment this morning in the news wire, if you go back and look at the old voice from the tomb story that supposedly is kind of a forerunner to seasonal type trades, May 10th is when you're supposed to sell wheat. So, if you had waited until May 10th, not a bad move here this year.

Yeager: I'm also picking up from you that maybe we should sell on May 10th because I don't hear from you saying we can move much higher.

Hueber: When I look at the wheat, I think outside of shorts coming out of the market, I don't see much there that you would really consider long-term friendly. So yes, I think it's probably a time to make a move. The conditions, granted, conditions can change quite a bit, but certainly nothing overly concerning there. So, I would be on the sell side at this point.

Yeager: One more question on wheat, but it's going to transition to corn and beans. And this is Matt in Iowa who submitted it, I believe this one is from Facebook. Thank you. Will the wheat continue to help corn and soybeans higher? Or will they go their own way lower?

Hueber: I would tend to think we're going to transition to where corn, maybe to a lesser extent beans, are leading the charge higher, which might help support wheat a little bit, but I don't think wheat is the leader. And if anything, it could start acting as the anchor that tempers any much more enthusiasm in the corn or soybeans.

Yeager: What moves corn higher then?

Hueber: Here again too, confronted with the same problem. I haven't seen the commitment of traders here this afternoon, and granted that's always a few days behind, we are still sitting with a very heavy short position on large specs and managed money. So, as you look over the next 30, 60 days, you're still at your greatest risk position in the growing season. So, I think maybe a little bit of delayed planting concern there. But I think that will be the driving force as we take these people out. Generally, they'll come away from shorts until you get to the end of June. If there's no major issue growing condition wise at the end of June, first of July, they'll come right back in again.

Yeager: For that deferred December contract, speaking of planting delays, which we talked about a couple of times earlier in this program, are we to the point yet that that's a concern to traders?

Hueber: Oh, I think it has probably aided some of the rally, but I don't think it's a considerable concern at this point in time. So, it's always challenging to rally a market, a grain market, on too much moisture. That's good for crops, isn't it? Rain makes great, right? So, not that it hasn't encouraged a little bit more of the short covering, but I don't think it has turned anybody to a bull. And I think a lot of people are kind of thinking, well, if we lose a little corn acreage that just becomes all the more bearish for soybeans, so it kind of tempers that enthusiasm itself.

Yeager: If you have positions both in July and December and you're sitting on some old crop and you think you should move some new crop, am I moving on either one of those? Is there one you like better?

Hueber: I think we're, the old crop, hopefully you don't have much of a position there, but I think if you extend any higher next week, I certainly would be considering parting with that. For some time, actually if you go back to the beginning of the year when we opened trade on January 2nd or 3rd, whatever the date was, December corn gapped below $5. We have never revisited that. And I think we'll get up and we'll test that $5, we'll try to fill that gap, I think it's $5.03. And much above and beyond there I think you really would have to have a more substantial weather issue to make that happen. So, sure, in that $4.90 to $5 range I think it's time to start rewarding the new crop as well.

Yeager: When you kind of transition into soybeans, there are some similarities. You mentioned that wheat might not pull corn and soybeans along, corn and soybeans might do it themselves. What do you see soybeans doing?

Hueber: Similar scenario, although I think less of a friendly story, less of a concern, particularly when it comes to planting delays and that type of thing. The South American issues, both Argentina and Brazil have probably helped kind of prop that up, allowing people to take a little more risk off the table looking into the summer months. I think the upside is kind of limited there as well. Using that same scenario, when corn gapped under $5, beans gapped under $12.50, new crop beans, it was $12.44, $12.45. Sure, I think we could get there and maybe we could put a $13 in front of the beans. But I think anything between $12.50 and $13 I think it's time to reward.

Yeager: I asked Sue last week, are beans in the teens possible? And she said, yes. Do you see beans in the teens possible in 2024?

Hueber: We're saying?

Yeager: November.

Hueber: $13, sure. In that realm. I think that's a possibility. But I think it's the upper side of the range, again, without a significant weather issue.

Yeager: That's what you see as the big story is the weather issue there?

Hueber: Yeah, I think demand we're just not in the ballpark at this point in time. And world supplies, we're not in the ballpark at this point.

Yeager: Speaking of world, we had issues on Friday with the White House and China, a couple of things, electric vehicles, a large tariff coming, rumors of potential tariffs against Chinese used cooking oil. That might be friendly to some things in the United States. How do you see it?

Hueber: As far as U.S. demand, we're basically their buyer of last resort to begin with. They'll come to us if we're cheap enough. So, I don't think it upsets the apple cart that much. If they need the product and we're the cheapest, they're going to buy it from us. That's just the way the Chinese operate. They won't certainly look to us first. But, if need be, they'll buy what they need. I think there is part of the issue with China, we already know they have displaced South American product in lieu of U.S. product. And then take the next step further where they are very, very deliberately trying to trim back on their hog industry. So, you've already reduced the amount of demand from that nation to begin with. So, again, I think there's where I have a difficult time finding a positive picture, particularly when it comes to feed grains.

Yeager: And it being an election year, you don't see that playing politically in changing things?

Hueber: Domestically? Not really. Again, I don't think Biden thinks he has the farm vote to begin with, so why try to change that?

Yeager: Cotton wise, that had been for a while an export story, then it became a domestic story. Then if you looked at the weather maps, the last several weeks the Delta has been pretty wet. Is that doing anything to the crop?

Hueber: It has not. Well, I shouldn't say not doing anything to the crop, but it certainly hasn't done anything to stimulate prices. In fact, we pushed into new lows for the year. So, I think they're assuming the acreage is going to be there this year. And, of course, even that fits in with if it gets in early enough, this is delaying it now, but could have been some double crop with soybeans. But boy, we're going to have to find some export business there again because domestically it's just not cutting it at this time.

Yeager: Did you see any positive news though that the cotton market didn't slide any further south, like it had been on that pace for a while this week?

Hueber: Of course, all markets at some point just run out of people wanting to, we've pushed it far enough, why keep beating a dead horse? When you find a bottom, of course bottoms never come because the news is bullish, you've become tired of trading the same old negative news. And we're probably reaching that point in cotton.

Yeager: Are we reaching that point in live cattle, negative news, too much of it?

Hueber: I don't know if I'd go that far. I think the cattle market is very indecisive at this point, I don't know if they really know which way to turn. I kind of tend to think that cattle, granted a lot of balls in the air here at this point in time, a lot of concern about what is going on with the avian flu and that type of thing, but I think the biggest concern here is people are still pushing back against what they're paying at the grocery stores at this point in time and I think beef is the one that could probably suffer the worst if we really start to see a cutback on what people are spending on groceries.

Yeager: But for the longest time, we're still buying nice cuts of meat.

Hueber: Oh absolutely, it's still a treat and of course it's still delicious to eat, so hard to turn away from that.

Yeager: Feeder cattle wise, we do have a question we'll get to in Market Plus about feeder cattle, but I'm going to ask you this one. Do you see this consolidation, is this a consolidation that we're seeing right now in the feeder market in the August contract?

Hueber: Feeders and fats both, I think they're both at a very indecisive point and looking for something new to come in from the outside. I wish I had a better feel for the cattle market right now. But, like I say, I think they are just in flux, they don't know which way to turn.

Yeager: I was asked a couple of times last weekend about cattle and I kind of looked at them and said, from what I'm hearing from the people that sit across from me, they think the top might be in for the near-term.

Hueber: Well, and I would say it's probably long-term, considering what we saw last year in the cattle market. Conversely, what the cattle enjoyed last year the hogs didn't and of course they have kind of come back around. And I kind of tend to think that the hogs could be the ones picking up the slack for the livestock industry this year.

Yeager: But the hogs were the slack this week.

Hueber: This week, but we'd had a pretty substantial rally over the last two to three months, so due for a corrective pullback. But right now, I don't think it's anything more than that. Just a correction, the normal seasonal trend up into the summer months I think is still with us.

Yeager: But was there any particular reason for hogs this week moving lower?

Hueber: Oh, I didn't see anything big within the numbers. So, again, I think it was probably just lack of new interest coming in. We need to retrace to some lower levels before we attract the buying interest once again.

Yeager: We're still kind of in that range. Is there any one of those three of the livestock we mentioned? I'm thinking you're saying hogs you think has the best outlook for the rest of '24?

Hueber: I would tend to say if I was going to be in a spread position it would be hogs against cattle, long hogs against short cattle.

Yeager: And the dollar, do you think that's done moving in the direction?

Hueber: Two weeks ago, it came back --

Yeager: 10 seconds, sorry.

Hueber: All right. Two weeks ago, the dollar actually had a big reversal to the downside. The last time we did that we spent about six, eight weeks moving lower. I think we could see something comparable, but not a disaster.

Yeager: Okay, thanks, Dan Hueber. Good to see you, appreciate your time.

Hueber: My pleasure, thank you much.

Yeager: That's Dan and we're going to pause this conversation with Dan and continue our discussion about these markets in our Market Plus segment. You can find both Analysis and Plus on our website of Being a member, or in this case being a subscriber, has privileges, especially when it comes to our content. You will be the first to know when we publish to YouTube when you ring the bell and allow notifications on any of our stories, podcasts or full program. Join the gathering at youtubelcom/markettomarket. Next week, the push for genetic diversity in livestock. Thank you so much for watching. Have a great week.



Market to Market is a production of Iowa PBS which is solely responsible for its content.

What's next doesn't happen by chance. It happens when researchers and farmers work together to solve tomorrow's agronomic challenges. We're committed to creating what's next because at Pioneer, our name is our mission.


Family owned and operated for more than 60 years, Sukup Manufacturing is a full-service provider of grain handling, storage and drying equipment, helping farmers feed and fuel the world.


For over 45 years, Steiner Tractor Parts has shared your love of antique tractors. New parts for old tractors. Learn more at or at 877-559-7887.


Tomorrow. For over 100 years, we have worked to help our customers be ready for tomorrow. Trust in tomorrow. Information is available from a Grinnell Mutual agent today.

Trading in futures and options involves substantial risk. No warranty is given or implied by Iowa PBS or the analysts who appear on Market to Market. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.