Market to Market - May 31, 2024

Market to Market | Episode
May 31, 2024 | 27 min

On this edition of Market to Market ...

The aftermath of a Memorial Day weekend full of deadly storms. A legislative roundup of bills looking to ban lab-grown meat across the country. Connecting the dots on HPAI in the dairy parlor. And commodity market analysis with Shawn Hackett.


Coming up on Market to Market - the aftermath of a Memorial Day weekend full of deadly storms. A legislative roundup of bills looking to ban lab-grown meat across the country. Connecting the dots on HPAI in the dairy parlor. And commodity market analysis with Shawn Hackett, 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 31 edition of Market to Market, the Weekly Journal of Rural America.

Hello. I’m Paul Yeager.

A couple of reports this week on the economy put evidence in the ‘economy is slowing’ category but still no verdict in the direction inflation is taking long term.

The Personal Consumption Index rose 0.2 percent last month providing some tentative assurance for Fed officials contemplating the next move on the key interest rate.

A hot move is forecast for the West as the first big heat wave is expected in the coming days for much of the Mountain and Pacific time zones.

Severe weather dominated the deep south this week with more striking on Friday morning and additional targets identified across the Plains for this weekend.

At least 22 people were killed over the Memorial Day weekend in storms across parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The hardest hit was an area from Dallas to northwest Arkansas.

Hundreds of homes in this part of Cooke County, Texas were destroyed as homes, out buildings and even a marina took direct hits. 

This grain bin in Pyatt, Arkansas was in the path of the storm that also destroyed nearby homes.

Justin Hurst/Pyatt, Arkansas: "We felt it hit the house and just felt it started sucking air up through the, through the walls and the windows. I heard the roof go. I started worrying about my brother because, of course, his house was out here in the middle of it all."

Another round of weather came through Dallas on Tuesday knocking out power to more than 1 million business and residential customers

The rain has mostly moved into more normal patterns except for parts of Kentucky and Texas.

This week’s Drought Monitor, again, showed improvement as storms from the Lone Star State to New York helped reduce dry conditions. The snapshot has improved twenty points since the end of February.

China stopped accepting beef processed at the Swift Beef Company facility in Greeley, Colorado after a feed additive was found in product destined for that country.

Any one incident can lead to trade blocks and cooling of relations.

Lab-grown meat has its own set of hurdles to clear.

David Miller looks at what individual states have done and held in action this legislative session.

Lab-grown meat has yet to be a staple on tables around the world but the outcry continues over the cell-cultivated product.

In early May, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama, both Republicans, signed bills banning the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food products made from cultured animal cells.

The Arizona House did vote to require more specific labeling of cell-cultivated meat and seafood but the measure failed to pass the Senate before the session ended.

At the federal level, a bipartisan measure to ban the use of lab-grown meat in school lunch programs across the nation was turned back. However, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, signed a bill at the end of the 2024 legislative session that did just that.

In June of last year, USDA gave a green light to the production of chicken produced from poultry cells. The pitch by the two California companies making the cultured meat is that no harm comes to animals and there is a reduction in the impact on the environment from grazing, growing feed or animal waste. The cell-grown chicken product has yet to reach supermarket shelves in this country but it made brief appearances at two high end restaurants in the U.S. and a grocery store in Singapore.

According to the Agricultural Law Center, 16 U.S. states have passed various pieces of legislation addressing the use of the term “meat” but not all of them have been signed into law.

Late last year, Italy banned the sale of cell-cultured meat and France is also considering legislation on an all-out ban.

For Market to Market, I’m David Miller.

More than 4 million chickens in Iowa were killed after a case of High Pathogenic Avian Flu was detected at a large egg farm this week.

A facility in Minnesota was identified last week forcing the slaughter of 1.4 million chickens.

HPAI has also made another appearance in dairy cows and those who are caring for the animals.

Peter Tubbs looks at the investigation and connections made by those working closely to determine how this spread is occurring.

His report is our Cover Story.

The story behind the H5N1 virus in dairy cattle continues to unfold. Progress on identifying, studying and preventing the spread of the virus in dairy cattle, which was first confirmed on March 25 of this year, is moving ahead on multiple fronts.

Jamie Jonker, Chief Science Officer, National Milk Producers Federation: “...we have learned, we have learned a lot, but there's still a lot yet to learn. You know, certainly we now know that the movement of lactating dairy animals has played a role in some of that spread, and that's resulted in the USDA Federal Animal health order, which is requiring pre-movement testing of lactating dairy animals, crossing state lines.”

The movement of dairy cattle is believed to have been the mode of transfer for most of the 36 herds with the first confirmed cases that were found in nine states. As the industry has become more cautious with transporting dairy cattle, the spread has slowed. Twenty-two states currently have restrictions on the importation of dairy cattle. Canada has also tightened restrictions on the importation of dairy cattle.

Questions still remain as to why the symptoms of the virus in cattle are markedly different from those that appear in poultry.

Jamie Jonker, Chief Science Officer, National Milk Producers Federation:   You know, we see in the animal, the animal movement within a farm are still looking a lot like the spread of mastitis. You know, we're learning more about why the virus likes the mammary gland. There are some receptor cells in there that the virus has a high affinity for. It gets in there and it replicates at very high levels.  And so, when you have common milking equipment that can be a mechanical conveyance between animals. So that's probably a very high likelihood that is a predominant cause within a herd.

Experts suggest that some of the slowing in new cases may be due to increasing temperature as the country moves into summer.

Jamie Jonker, Chief Science Officer, National Milk Producers Federation: “And we don't quite know the answer to that yet. Yeah, we do know from the experience of the poultry sector that that the virus tends to die down as we get into summer because it doesn't like heat. And so, you know, it's possible we might see a bit of a lull here in summer and then, you know, maybe there's a resurgence in the fall. We don't know the answer to that because it's a new and dairy cattle.”

 Others in the dairy industry suggest that part of the slowdown in new H5N1 cases in the nation’s dairy herd come from a reluctance of dairy owners to report or even test for active cases of H5N1 in their herds. Due to the potential for low test numbers and under reporting, the exact extent of how far the virus has spread is still unknown.

The passage of the virus from dairy cattle to humans has occurred three times. The first case was discovered in early April and the second was found last week when a Michigan dairy worker tested positive for bird flu. The worker had been in contact with cows presumed to be infected, AND experienced mild eye symptoms.

The CDC announced a third infected worker this week, also from Michigan. The farmworker displayed symptoms of acute respiratory illness associated with influenza virus infection.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control, say data indicates the virus detected in both cows and the first two human cases lack changes that indicate the virus has adapted to transmit between humans. The genetics of the third case have not been identified. To prevent further spread between animals and humans, the CDC recommends limiting close, long or unprotected exposure to sick or dead animals.

Also, this week, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the results of its most recent study on tissue samples from 96 culled dairy cows. It found H5N1 viral particles in one of the 96 samples. No meat from the 96 animals entered the food supply.

Samples of ground beef were purchased from retail channels in states with herds that had a positive test for the H5N1 influenza virus. Testing by FSIS found no virus particles present in the ground beef. Even if bird flu were to end up in consumer beef, USDA officials say, cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees will kill the virus in the same manner as it destroys E. coli and other viruses.

Although milk from dairy cows that show symptoms of H5N1 infection are diverted from the food chain, tests of retail milk found deactivated virus remnants. The FDA believes that proper pasteurization of milk is an effective method of inactivating the virus.

The FDA also recommends the dairy industry refrain from selling raw milk and raw or unpasteurized cheese products made from the milk of cows showing signs of the illness.

Testing of beef and milk products continues in the quest for a better understanding of the virus.

Jamie Jonker, Chief Science Officer, National Milk Producers Federation: “They've confirmed through virus viability studies from those products that the virus is not alive, it's dead, which means pasteurization does precisely what we kind of really thought it would do, particularly for a virus like this that is relatively intolerant…And so that's helping to confirm this isn't a food safety issue. It is an animal health issue. It is a potential safety issue for workers that are in close contact with infected animals, particularly with milk from the infected animals. But so far, you know, that's where it's at animal health and that potential worker safety issue and not a bigger issue.”

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.

Next, the Market to Market report.

Improved weather helped producers get back to planting and some profit taking showed up in the virtual pits. For the week, the nearby wheat contract lost 19 cents and the July corn contract fell 19 cents. Poor demand and improved conditions returned to the soy complex. The July soybean contract subtracted 43 cents while July meal weakened $21.80 per ton. July cotton shrank by $4.37 per hundredweight. Over in the dairy parlor, July Class Three milk futures declined 42 cents. The livestock market was mixed. June cattle fell $2.15. August feeders cut $3.83. And the June lean hog contract added 7 cents.  In the currency markets, the US dollar index was even.  July crude oil lost 74 cents per barrel. COMEX gold shed $12.10 per ounce. And the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index was off more than six points to settle at 574.70.

Yeager: Joining us now is regular Market Analyst Shawn Hackett. Hello, sir.

Hackett: Hello. You know there's no place I'd rather be.

Yeager: I know. And that means a lot. And you have a lot to talk about. I'm going to tease a tiny bit. It's going to be bearish for a while. But you have some bullish sentiment to come in our discussion. But the question I'm going to lead with is, is the party over in the wheat market for the foreseeable future?

Hackett: I don't believe the party is over. I think it's taking a rest. We had a big, big rally. Harvest is right around the corner. The crop is the best we've seen in the four or five years and we know harvest pressure, farmers are going to start selling out of the field. And so, I think that's, for now, going to put a pause in the market. But I don't believe the party is over. I still think there's more time to go before you have to leave for good.

Yeager: Do you get the sense, though, that that was the, when I use the party reference, that everything else was just kind of stuck in the morning after because of wheat? Is wheat really a leader right now in grains?

Hackett: It is the leader. It has been the leader. And I think it's going to continue to be the leader for a while. The Russian drought and double day frost worst in history there, it's a major crop problem. We haven't had a major crop problem in Russia since 2010-2011. And when we start dialing in what that production looks like it could be as much as 20 million metric tons below what it was supposed to be and they set the global price for wheat. Everyone trades off of them. That is the key.

Yeager: How long are we looking at here for this we'll say pause sideways, or lower, before you see us moving higher?

Hackett: I think we can pause into mid-June in grains and wheat. But I think after that the weight of the lost production in Russia will come back and the market will then have to react and add additional premium. But I think into mid-June is what I would expect.

Yeager: Old crop corn struggled, like most crops did. Did enough farmers take enough of an opportunity to sell, in your mind?

Hackett: I think they did. Certainly, my customers took advantage of it and we were strong supporters of selling cash corn here in late April into May. I think we got a lot done. It's obviously what kept the corn market not chasing wheat as much as many would have liked. But that's the process of kind of cleaning up the market and getting ready for what we think is going to be an interesting hot July here for the growing season.

Yeager: Well, Matt in Iowa has your next question, Shawn, and it's about new crop. June has historically seen a rally in grains and provided a window to sell old crop and get some new crop sales booked. Will we see that rally in the same timeframe?

Hackett: Well, I think we had our opportunity here already. I think that first selling opportunity in cash was already, we already had it. I think we're going to correct into mid-June. I think your next selling opportunity is going to occur mid-to-late July if our hot July forecast is correct. So, I think there will be another opportunity, but I don't believe June is going to give it to you like it has in many years before.

Yeager: Are we in a big slide in new crop until July?

Hackett: I don't think we're going to retest the March lows. I think we're going to make a higher low. But I do think we could give back at least 50% of the rally we've seen in corn. And we're already on our way doing that.

Yeager: Do you get the sense that this planting delay, we're just about five-year average, we'll probably see again pace as it was pretty dry in a lot of places -- is the weather window and any premium added to the market shut?

Hackett: I think the planting situation is not going to create a rally. I think we're getting the crop planted. The good moisture does far more good than it does bad. I just don't see that being a strong story in the marketplace until we get further on into the growing season.

Yeager: I guess I'll ask almost the same question wheat as I did for soybeans. Is that celebration over in soybeans on old crop?

Hackett: I don't think there was anything really to celebrate about. I think soybeans was just going up because we were getting rallies in wheat and corn and speculators were covering short positions. I struggle to see the fundamental reason for soybeans to go up. It's a follower, a third follower, and so to the extent that it was following the other, that party is over, and I just feel soybeans are just going to be a lagging market all through the summer unless we get something going on in August.

Yeager: If I'm holding old crop, it sounds like I've missed my window. Do I cut my losses now and make a sale?

Hackett: Look, if you're sitting here and you've not made a single cash sale and you're saying, I didn't take advantage of this recent rally, I think you do need to get something on the books. You've got to move the ball forward ahead of September, October harvest. We're not in the business of selling declines, we like to sell rallies into technical strength. So, we're not making sales here. But if you're someone who is coming to me saying, I've done nothing, you definitely need to get something done in case a black swan event comes into the fray.

Yeager: New crop has a story that is tough when you're looking historically. 19 years we are behind pace on new crop sales at this time. What is that telling you?

Hackett: Well, it's just saying right now that China, whatever they are buying they continue to find those supplies from Brazil. Even though the Brazil crop is down from a year ago, they came in with larger stocks than we thought. I don't really see the willingness for China to avoid buying Brazil for us unless Brazil holds back exports, which I do not think is going to happen. It's a tough story. It really is a tough story and I don't have a good answer for you. I think it would be weather problems in August that might push the ball forward on demand.

Yeager: That's hard to hang a market on hopes and dreams of a weather market.

Hackett: Yeah, it's not something that you want to hope on a dream on. But because we are very constructive on corn and wheat, we do think we are going to get additional selling opportunities, not because we really should be getting them, just because that's the way the soybeans work. If we get big moves in corn and wheat, we're not going to see soybeans stay down here. We'll get what we just saw, grinding, struggling rally, but a rally that you could at least sell into strength and get a better price than we have right now.

Yeager: What is the scenario that makes soybeans go from third in line to first in line to be a leader on new crop?

Hackett: You have to have a hot August. I don't really see any other scenario out there that I can see that is going to allow that to happen. We need a hot August, which we have not had in over a decade. But we need that story to bring speculators into the market and to bring some panic into cash buyers into the market. Other than that, it's just going to follow the wheat/corn lead.

Yeager: Weather has been benign in corn and beans. You have a forecast for the hurricane season picking up, which is going to cause some problems in cotton. We have been seeing that market stuck in a bearish story. Has it flipped to bullish in your eyes?

Hackett: Well, Texas got great moisture for the first time in many years. We're off to a good start with planting. So, it's struggling because right at this moment production potential looks the best in the state of Texas it has looked in a long time. So, I think it's going to continue to struggle as we move along. But, as you stated, very active August, September hurricane season, especially for the Gulf, especially for Texas, it means we could get a lot of unforeseen rains during bowl sets that could really create a stir. But that's a long way from now. But it's definitely something that is going to keep the market from breaking down right now. And so, I think it's just a market that is going to trade in a trading wedge, which we've been doing back and forth, and if you have to sell something sell the upper end of the range, if you have to buy something buy the lower end of the range. It's really not a market that, in my mind, has a lot of near-term potential.

Yeager: Live cattle have some near-term potential or long-term potential?

Hackett: It has great long-term potential. We've been promoting the idea that we're stuck in a wedge pattern since last fall, which we have been. We are now at the upper end of the wedge rolling back over. We think we're going to go back to the lower end of the wedge, once again. But coiling, a coiling pattern like that typically breaks out to the upside. That pattern completes at the end of the summer in August for both hogs, cattle, feeder cattle and for dairy. So, we're pretty excited that we could see a pretty exciting end of the year for the livestock sector, not only because of these technical pairings, because we think fundamentals, which HPA and things are really coming together to create an unusual fundamental situation.

Yeager: But your first answer sounds much more technical. But you're saying that the technicals are going to be influenced by -- or the fundamentals, will they override the technicals?

Hackett: Well, when there's not a good fundamental story, the technicals drive trading patterns. And then once you get the fundamental story that takes hold, you then get a breakout of that technical pattern and you then move into a more dynamic move either to the up or down side, depending on which way it goes.

Yeager: Well, we have the issue with China stopping the import from that one facility in Colorado, one can sometimes become two and all of a sudden HPAI becomes an issue and they just say stop. Does that put a lid on any optimism here in live cattle?

Hackett: Certainly, those are unknowns that we can't really forecast how it's going to play out. I don't really think, from what I've seen and the research I've seen and the trends I've seen, that we're going to see the beef cattle side of the equation get caught up in HPAI. I think it's going to be more of a dairy situation than a beef situation. And I really believe that the supplies later in the year are going to be so tight, I'm not sure we're going to need to worry about too much export to China at this point.

Yeager: Feeder wise, after the report last week, the market kind of yawned, I guess is probably the best way to say. How did you see feeders?

Hackett: Yeah, it yawned, and, as I said, I don't really see that market having an ability to break out to the upside until we get past the June, July timeframe. I'm not necessarily negative either, by the way, I just don't see the technical or fundamental reasoning to break out until later in the year.

Yeager: One of the frequent guests on this show said this week in a newsletter, June in hogs looks explosive, upside exists into the fourth quarter, record high prices possible. Shawn Hackett, do you stand by what you said earlier this week on hogs?

Hackett: Yeah, I really do. I think the way that we're setting up, if you look at the Chinese hog price breaking out to the upside is the leading indication that the herd liquidation over there is over, that the African swine fever situation is over. The pork price itself in China has had its first up week in months. And to me, when we're looking at when they're going to be needing to buy a lot of pork to cover a shortage is going to be later in the year. And from everything I see, our herd is going to be smaller, not larger, the further on we get into the year.

Yeager: What do I do if I'm a producer then in the United States?

Hackett: Well, my general view with the whole livestock sector, but especially hogs, is you want to keep your topside open. You want to make sure you have your upside potential that if we get a big move, you're going to be able to sell those cash prices at those higher levels. So, my concept would be to do things to protect downside price risks because there's a lot of uncertainty in the world, we don't know how all these things are going to play out. But keep your topside open. We've had record losses. You need to make some money and you need to keep that topside open.

Yeager: Thank you, Shawn, good to see you. Appreciate it. We are going to pause this Analysis and continue our discussion about these markets in our Market Plus segment. You can find both Analysis and Plus on our website of Our email inbox is open around the clock to take your feedback on topics about the program or just something you want to tell the producers of the show. Drop a line any time, Next week, a move to close the last packing plant in a major U.S. city. 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.