Market to Market - July 7, 2023

Market to Market | Episode
Jul 7, 2023 | 27 min

On this edition of Market to Market - from farm labor to animal policy, new laws that went into effect July 1. Taking stock of the crop at the July 4th holiday. And, market analysis with Kristi Van Ahn Kjeseth.


Coming up on Market to Market - From farm labor to animal policy, new laws that went into effect July 1. Taking stock of the crop at the July 4th holiday. And market analysis with Kristi Van Ahn-Kjeseth, 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.


Sukup Manufacturing. Celebrating 60 years of innovation as a family owned and operated manufacturer of grain storage, drying and handling equipment out of Sheffield, Iowa. Learn more at


Tomorrow. For over 100 years, we've 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, July 7 edition of Market to Market, the Weekly Journal of Rural America.

Hello. I’m Paul Yeager.

The labor market, again, showed its durability last month with another round of expansion.

Employers added 209,000 jobs in June - likely providing cover for the Federal Reserve to raise the key interest rate at their next meeting. Most of the growth came from healthcare companies and private education firms along with some new hires in state and local government.

The unemployment rate went back down to the near five-decade low of 3.6 percent.

The nine-state region covered in the Mid-America Business Conditions Index fell to 50.8, but still helped add a fifth consecutive month above growth neutral.

Saturday marked the start of a new month, quarter and for many states - new laws.

For example, Iowans are now able to buy and sell unpasteurized milk - making it state number 29 that allows the purchase of the raw product.

Peter Tubbs reports.

Numerous agriculture related laws took effect around the country on July 1st.

California’s heavily litigated Proposition 12 became law this week. The new law specifies minimum space requirement for laying hens, veal cattle and breeding sows. The pork portion of the proposition was challenged in various courts and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in May. Non-compliant pork that was processed before July 1 will be allowed to be sold in California until December 31st.

Florida now requires employers to verify the immigration status of employees by using the E-Verify system. Florida agriculture uses thousands of seasonal workers each year.

Maryland and Minnesota have legalized the recreational use of cannabis in their states. Recreational cannabis is now legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Minnesota authorized the creation of an indemnity fund to refund grain producers in the event of the bankruptcy of a grain elevator or grain trader. Protections shielding farmers from bankruptcies that buy or hold their grain vary across Midwestern states.

South Dakota now has a law that shields farmers from nuisance claims, including farms operating agritourism businesses. Only landowners within one mile of the farming operation would be allowed to file suit. Opponents believe the burden of evidence is now unfairly high to victims of nuisance.

Iowa increased the number of hours children aged 14-17 can work, and broadened the areas where children can be employed, including retail, food service, light cleaning and kitchen work. Having family members under the age of 14 working on a family farm is still legal.

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs

July 4th, 2023 was the hottest day on earth since the National Centers for Climate Prediction started gathering data in 1979. This broke a record set just one day earlier on July 3rd.

High temps have been common in the South the last few weeks. Dry conditions continue tightening their hold on the grain belt. 

This growing season we are, again, profiling two producers in different parts of the country - tracking what’s happening on the ground and in their fields.

Oklahoma was in an epic drought when we last visited with Mike Schulte.

The region of Illinois where Chad Bell lives was wet during the key part of the planting season.

How things have changed are the stories told in the next installment of the MtoM Podcast and are featured in this week’s Cover Story.

Chad Bell:  Up until this past Thursday. We had basically had next to no rain since about May 13, I believe. And corn and soybeans, corn especially, was struggling in the area. Curling up during the day and starting to get some of that grayish look to it. And even on the days where highs rolling in the upper 70s or low 80s. Corn was really looking tough in this area. And but anytime it would rain, I'd kind of come out of it. And we had some really nice cool nights and so that that really helped a lot of the corn wasn't stressed overnight with prolonged warm temperatures. So, things look okay, now, we've got about five inches of rain right where I'm standing here since Thursday. So, a lot of rain in a short amount of time, but most of its soaked in.

Paul Yeager: Five inches. That's ridiculous. I guess I didn't look exactly at your dot. How many different storms did that come across in 1, 2, 3?

Chad Bell: I want to say three. I live just about five miles north of where I'm standing, I only had an inch and a quarter for that whole, that whole stretch so even five miles there was over four inches a difference in rain. 

Paul Yeager: What do you think the area about 50 miles in any direction has had around you?

Chad Bell: That's about, it's about the same. It's variable. I think, from the map that I saw this morning on the local news, east of here, caught a pretty good amount, maybe similar to what I had here where I'm standing. But then north and west, was in the inch range. And so pretty variable in the area. But there are some pockets like what I'm standing in where, you know, a couple miles makes a huge difference.

Paul Yeager: Now your spring, when did you finally I think when we talked you'd kind of dribbled a little bit out. But when did you really kind of get going and get everything in the ground.

Chad Bell: So that last week of April, 1 week of May is really when we got everything else put in. I want to say that I started corn on a Thursday that last week of April, finishing the rest of it. And soybeans. I started a couple days ahead of that maybe Monday or Tuesday of that last week of April. But we had everything we had our soybeans finished up that I think the May 1 or whatever that Saturday was, and then by the following Saturday had all had all the corn in

Paul Yeager: Do you find that some of the grain that was in some of the that was in earlier or middle or later has performed better, or at least looked better?

Chad Bell: Yeah, I'd say maybe the earliest planted is average at best. And then that late April 1 week of May is probably the sweet spot is what it looks like right now here. And then anything after the first week of May start tailing off pretty fast. I did have one field the corn that I planted on May 20. That we had spring tiling done on the field. And we were waiting on some rain to do a little bit of field work to get it ready to plant. And we got three tenths of rain, I think the 13th or 14th of May, which allowed us to do what we wanted to for getting the field ready to plant and then I waited there for another rain chance that never came. So, about a week later on the 20th I planted corn and that corn looks the toughest out of everything. It's short, a lot of potassium deficiency pretty much all the way across the field. And there's several areas where the corn didn't come up because the ground was so dry, it just didn't germ. There's a lot of tough looking fields that were planted after that first week of May here and I don't think that that rains going to turn things around for them. They might kind of slow the bleeding or stop the bleeding. But I think there's been some damage done to a lot of those fields.

Paul Yeager: We know that knee high by the Fourth of July has long since passed. But do you have anything below that around you?

Chad Bell: My field might be in some areas. But otherwise most a lot of the corn that was put in that late April 1 week of May it's actually starting to shoot some tassels you got to look pretty hard for him yet. But they're there the flag leaf is out on most of that corn and soy here this week and next week we'll probably really be going full tassel and starting pollination.

Paul Yeager: Mike, would you call the month of June insulting to wheat farmers when you go all that time without rain. I remember our conversation back in April where it was 100 days, 200 days, all these number hundreds of days where you haven't had measurable rain. And then just as it's time to roll the combine, it rains. Is that the ultimate irony?

Mike Schulte:  When we talked in April, it was, it was a much different situation than what we are dealing with today. I think in many instances, producers are thankful for the moisture because we needed it so badly. And it allowed us probably to be able to finish this crop out and have grain fill in areas where producers are probably thinking that there wasn't going to be a crop at all, by no means does the crop you know, as far as yield, look that great across the state. However, it is going to allow us to have something where we thought we were going to have nothing. And so, I think for that the producers have been thankful. But it has been extremely challenging trying to get this crop harvested. I think it's probably been one of the more challenging harvest seasons that I've seen in my lifetime. And just talking with other agricultural producers across the state who've maybe even been in this 40 or 50 years the they're saying the same thing.

Paul Yeager:  The video I saw recently from your state, it's green underneath that wheat that's coming out. So, I guess you have to be optimistic there.

Mike Schulte: Yeah, it's, you know, it's just it we are

having some problems now with weed pressure in the field. Producers, you know, trying to move as fast as they can, in some instances haven't been able to. There have been some producers have decided to just abandoned fields that they thought that they were maybe even going to be able to harvest even after they had made those management decisions back in April and May now that the weeds have taken over and so now they're going to end up getting that and baling that for hay. Certainly, you know not really great for us from a production standpoint at the Southern Plains but it's just producers are having to weigh all options as they move forward. And it seems like every day there's a little bit of a different type of obstacle that we are facing given what we've had to deal with as far as weather just over this this past year for this growing season.  Certainly up in northern Oklahoma, their microclimate is a little bit different than in southern Oklahoma, you'll see corn and soybeans being planted, I think that the corn looks extremely favorable in our state, which is kind of unusual for us, because we do tend to end up being hot and dry later on. I think the verdicts still probably will be out on that if you look at the future forecasts. But things do look different from a standpoint of the summer crops that are out there right now. And even in the panhandle region where they have had moisture. You know, I think producers are hopeful that they're going to be able to irrigate from here on out and maybe have some opportunities with summer crops> It is really amazing what you can do if you just get a little moisture from Mother Nature in that region.

The full discussion will be part of the MtoM release on Tuesday.

Next, the Market to Market report.

The Black Sea Region talks were back to making waves in the grain trade while technicals came back into play. For the holiday-shortened trade week, the nearby wheat contract fell 2 cents, while September corn lost 4 cents. Some profit taking entered the fray left over from last week’s USDA report as the August soybean contract shed 14 cents, while August meal subtracted $11.10 per ton. December cotton expanded 80 cents per hundredweight. Over in the dairy parlor, August Class Three milk futures decreased 39 cents. The livestock market was mixed. August cattle cut 18 cents. August feeders shed $2.15. And the August lean hog contract improved $2.55. In the currency markets, the US dollar index lost 63 ticks. August crude oil gained $3.02 per barrel. COMEX gold expanded $4.80 per ounce. And the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index strengthened more than 9 points to settle at 550.35.

Yeager: Joining us now is a new face to the program, market analyst, Kristi Van Ahn-Kjeseth. Kristi, good to have you here.

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: It's awesome, it's great. Thank you.

Yeager: Let's start with wheat.

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, great.

Yeager: Black Sea region, we hear about this discussion, it's on, it's off. At what point do we stop talking about that as the main story in the wheat complex?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, I think people still want to talk about it. You saw wheat up 50 at one point during the week and gave back those gains. When you look at kind of the dynamic of wheat right now it's a tight carryout. Domestically, worldwide we know that there's some issues there. And so, I think people want to still keep it part of the situation, but in the long run we need to, over in the U.S., see demand start to pop up.

Yeager: Well, like Mike just said in the story from Oklahoma, it rained in that area, but they're not planting wheat now, they're harvesting it. What is harvest telling you and harvest pressure? You mentioned a tight carryout. Is that part of the story?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, I think you can. You look at where we are, even stocks report here at the end of June we got a very tight number. That is going to be your final carryout number here for wheat for old crop. And so, we know that we're working with less wheat than we anticipated. And so, there is a tighter situation. You look at kind of spring wheat, when you look at where it was in North Dakota, there was a lot of people saying lack of moisture, the heat, it was causing it to form that extra head and come in here and you were worried about what you're going to have for yield. They got the rain and I think that might help them fill it out. But they're still looking at a crop that they aren't expecting to see a lot. Later in the month we'll get a quality crop tour. That will give us an idea where spring wheat is. But overall, we definitely have a much smaller crop than we've had and it continues to kind of get smaller and smaller. The issue is, it doesn't matter if we have a small crop if the demand is not around. And I think that is where you start to have those issues. Do you have the Black Sea deal or not? And if we do have it, we kind of just keep kicking the can down the road that okay, we have a tight carryout, but it doesn't matter because we have this deal.

Yeager: Well, demand has been the story of the corn market. It seems to be there's not that demand. And then you have the added extra weight of acres and last week the market fell out of bed. It still seems like it's on the floor. Is it the floor? Can this thing go lower in corn?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, everyone is going to hate me for this. I am not the biggest fan of corn setup right now when you look at it. I think that you can support corn from now until July 12th. July 12th is going to be a crop report that I feel like can either stabilize this market or really say we're done until we know what yields are. We know that we are dry in so many areas. Back where I'm from it's very, very dry. But we can't materialize what that did to yield quite yet. In the next three to four weeks we're going to start having a more physical idea of what that might have happened and as we progress we'll get more information. But right now, demand is one of those really thorn in corn's side, that any time we're going to have this yield decline I really feel like USDA has the room to take demand off of the table as well giving us net wash. And I felt comfortable with that before the report. But now that we have all those extra acres, it really does make it tight to give us a carryout level that is on the tight situation.

Yeager: Your part of Minnesota hasn't had a lot of rain. When you saw rain when you drove into our studio today you were like, what is this thing? You mentioned that we don't quite know yet. But the market is acting like that crop has all the moisture it needs.

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, and I think so. And you look at kind of crop conditions and you look at where we're at, the crop conditions are extremely poor. And we have one year to compare it to and that's 2012. But now we have taken a very different turn than 2012. We're not as hot, we started to get the moisture, the extended forecast looks for more moisture and now we're in this no man's land that is saying, what can we really do with this situation? And we have to remember that we got a whole lot of extra acres and those extra acres, the bigger the acre number the harder it is to get to trendline yield. And so, we know that that should be supportive of yield decline as well along with poor conditions. But I also feel like you can just have that constant offset. When you look at kind of the demand structure between exports, we're just so dismal on exports right now, trying to get that. Our feed use is a very large number as well.

Yeager: Well, you mentioned exports. How about the Black Sea? We asked you about the story in wheat. But let's ask this question from Minda. She wanted to know via Twitter, presuming the grain corridor deal is mostly dead, is the impact on global corn supply material or is that old news?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, I think the biggest story with global corn production right now is coming out of Brazil. They have a very large crop coming. They're harvesting it right now. And we know that China has been very active buyers for soybeans out of Brazil and kind of coming and looking at their corn. And so, yes, you do have some issues that relate back to Russia and Ukraine and the Black Sea deal. But I really think on the bigger picture here when you look at production is the fact that Brazil has a very large crop coming and they are a lot cheaper than us.

Yeager: The story in soybeans is a little bit about Brazil. But, was this week mostly on technical on this correction?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, I think so. I mean, any time you're getting rain during this season it's going to tamper a bull relationship. So, we're starting to get those rains in so many areas, you continue to forecast better chances of precipitation and I also think two weeks ago you were looking at beans and you were saying, man those beans look really rough, and now you're driving around and they're starting to look a lot better. And so, I think even that sentiment of saying hey, these beans are really coming together and I'm driving down here and our beans don't look great. It took them a long time to get out. We were so dry for so long. In fact, if you planted them in corn stubble it was like three weeks that they sat in there and didn't do anything. They're starting to come along. But as soon as I kind of crossed the Minnesota/Iowa border I'm looking around and I'm like, dang these beans look really good. And I think that plays into that role too. And so, when you start to have that sentiment and you come in and you bring it into a chart, you did have negative divergence on a chart. When you start to look at you made a higher high, but the momentum wasn't there. And I think those are the type of things that bring out those outside sellers. You also have a sentiment that's not all that friendly when it comes to China. And any time you start to talk about poor relationships with China, people want to sell beans.

Yeager: Well, and that's the story. Secretary Yellen is in China again, not talking about decoupling, they're parsing words, we saw Blinken there, the Secretary of State, recently. That is a fragile relationship. But back domestically here when you mention new crop, is there a target that we need to be watching before July 12th? Or is there a date? Put those two moving things together for me.

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, when you look at the difference, obviously you have corn here and beans here and they're so different. And so, I think that the 12th is going to be an interesting report to see how can USDA pencil a decent carryout? They're going to have to really work the pencil and figure out a way to keep us at a decent carryout level. And so, you have this domestic story and you have the reason to believe that beans could be very supported for quite some time, especially if we start to see yield decline, which people are expecting us to come and see. We know that crush is very strong. So, you do have that export. We're at a fraction of what we should have booked right now for export sales for new crop. And so, we know all of those things, but I think when you look at beans there's enough friendly information on the table. I think also something that probably brought sellers out to this is the relationship between corn and beans is very, very wide. And any time you start to look at that from an investment perspective or a trend perspective, you might have people saying, I'm willing to step into this spread here and be a buyer of corn and a seller of soybeans for the time being to see if that spread itself corrects itself treating them together versus separately.

Yeager: It's not a correction yet in livestock, but live cattle have maybe, are they catching their breath? What are they doing?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, so one of the old sayings, I'm a fundamentalist at heart, that is what I like focusing on. But you have this big world of technical traders now and the old saying is that you should really look at a chart and then not know what you're looking at. And I think that's what you're looking at right now is that when you looked at a chart on live cattle it was a good sell on the technical side of things. So, I think you got that kind of rebound. Talking about spread trading between corn and soybeans, you can look at that trade between cattle and hogs and fixing that relationship to a degree. So, I really think when you look at that it was more technical than anything, fundamentally still very strong when you look at the numbers and the situations. And the you had that little bit of a pullback on cash and I think that justified your technical pullback too.

Yeager: Well, in feeders is that, has the lower corn been an opportunity? That's the fundamental side I'm guessing.

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Right, yeah, and it really was that -- so you started to see feeder cattle have that little bit of a pullback and then corn just dropped obviously like a rock. And I think that gave feeder cattle that one big bounce back and now you're at these high levels that you're saying, hey, let's let it be and let's see if we get that pullback.

Yeager: What do you like for a range here? I was just looking at that chart. It looks like a technical wave 2 I guess is what you would say. Do you like that thing higher or lower right now?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, honestly I think now at this point feeder cattle is based off of corn and so this is going to be an interesting week coming forward with where we see USDA come and what we can do. Can we stabilize corn at this $4.85 low and see us get a little bit of a bounce back? And I think right now feeders are waiting to see how corn trades before it really decides which way it wants to go for the time being.

Yeager: We talked about China. Is that the story in the hog market? It's always an easy question for me because it usually is. Is that the story this week?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: I think you look at hogs and you can see that numbers are down. I think you can see that cash has been supported. I think that when you look at it you know that the weights aren't there right now. And I think that you see how far cattle have rallied. And I think that is where you're seeing this big push into the hog market is those factors. I think that you can look at China, you can look at exports, exports are very, very strong. But at some point you're going to be looking at a consumer saying okay, I've always picked beef, but when there's that big of a difference am I going to start leaning towards a little bit more pork in my diet?

Yeager: So, you see the consumer becoming a bigger story in the hog market than the beef market right now?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah, I think that the way everything is going I think they're going to be strong regardless. But I think that initially will start to play a role in things to see people choose pork a little bit more often. It's not so much that I think they're going to necessarily step completely away from beef. You don't see that happening right now. But I think you could see them start to come and pick that up and close the gap.

Yeager: You're done. You made it. You all right?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Yeah.

Yeager: First segment in. Thank you, Kristi. We'll learn a little bit more about you in Market Plus. You get to do this for another 10, 12 minutes. Are you ready for that?

Van Ahn-Kjeseth: Perfect, so ready.

Yeager: All right, thank you very much, Kristi. That is going to have us put a pause on our Analysis. We're going to continue our discussion, as I said, in our Market Plus segment. You can find both Analysis and Plus on our website, which is easy to find, it's All of these resources that I have just talked about, they are free. You know what also is? So is our YouTube page. It's the place to find our full program, Market Plus and the stories that we feature each week. Subscribe to our feed at Next week, we look at the one stop shopping for the overall health of your operation. Thank you so much for watching and 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.


Sukup Manufacturing. Celebrating 60 years of innovation as a family owned and operated manufacturer of grain storage, drying and handling equipment out of Sheffield, Iowa. Learn more at


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