Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Pearson: This is the Friday, September 23, 2016 version of the Market Plus segment. Joining us now is Sue Martin. Sue, welcome back. Martin: Thank you, Mike. Pearson: While we were on the program I rudely, Sue, and I apologize, had to cut you off as we were discussing the pork market. You had led in by saying October is pork month, we have a ton of animals being processed here over the next six to eight weeks or a year, depending on how you look at it. Can the demand soak up all of those critters? Martin: Well, I think we have good demand and the retailer continues to use pork and poultry to feature, to draw, and cheap price to draw in the consumer and while he's in there then the hope is he buys a little bit of beef. That is being kept pretty much at the same price or not much less. So the retailer is making good margins, the packer is making good margins on both pork and beef. And I think that when I look at the pork market, this seems to be an old fashioned traditional kind of a year where we have so much protein, just so much protein, even eggs, just huge. But on the same token of course like I say the retailer is moving it as far as the pork and he's moving the poultry too. But the cold storage report showed supplies down, which was a good sign. So that might help us be a little firmer as we start the week. But the bottom line is what rally we get I don't think lives because I think ultimately we will move back down into November. So October is pork month, that might help us a little bit, get a little reprieve. Usually the beef choice select does better usually through the last week of September on through the third week or so of October. So in general we might get a little bit of a lift here and part of that also comes off of the fact that producers are busy, hopefully, combining corn and beans and so we'll see. But of course any more so many hogs are integrated that when they're ready to go they just load them up. And so I think that we have a market here that still tips back down into November. Pearson: How far down? Sue, as I was on the road I hear people getting nervous that we've taken out, we're now in, I believe we're back into life of contract lows as of Friday. Are we looking at the same setup we saw in '98 where we run out of capacity? Martin: No, I don't think so. I think that we're using this beef and pork industry, we're using the production that we're getting, and the poultry. The one thing we have to keep in mind is we have a good Hispanic population that we didn't have back in '98 and on top of it we may be having other populations coming in as well. Pork and poultry are products that they like and therefore the Hispanics are big users of pork. And so I think -- and they use cuts that we wouldn't maybe normally have used. So I think we're going to use it. Our export market this past week was down, which was a little disappointing. My biggest concern would be China, if China becomes the world's largest exporter, which it seems like they're trying to gear towards, and yet they also are a little tight supplied right now for supplies of protein or meat for their consumer. They're in the process of making huge changes in China and they have a huge sow herd now that we're under the understanding that by the middle of next year they'll have their full cycle complete and be full swing into production. But they're trying to gain back the consumer confidence. Things have gone on in China that probably weren't the best. So now they're in the process of cleaning up their act and getting things better but they're also talking about becoming the world's largest exporter of pork. That would not be a good thing for us. It makes you wonder why Shuanghui bought Smithfield. Pearson: Well we've got a couple of other questions here. This one is from Scott in Barrington, Illinois. Scott wants to know, if we plant 3 million less winter wheat acres how do we plant less corn acres next year? Martin: And he's right on that, although sorghum could pick up some of those acres, and milo. Beans I think pick up some of those acres. It depends on the price too. Right now you've got your producer thinking about next year's acres and laying the groundwork for that. But we also know that the farmer, I believe the farmer is in better shape at this time than he would have been back in the mid-80s. I don't think we have producers in trouble like we had back then. Yeah, they're not making money and they're strapped a little bit, but on the same token it's not like, you'll have some who maybe go out of business, you have that always where it's an efficiency thing. But the bottom line is, I think that it depends on how bad the price is. And with us putting in an 84 year cycle low I still say you're going to have something better next year than what we're looking at. I'm not sure a year of a 7 tends to be usually dynamic, they don't seem to be over history, but we'll know for sure when I finish my research on that. But I think that when I look at corn prices they're more intensive, input intensive, that might be something that helps make these decisions because this is not your first year, this is going into at least your second year of pork prices and that might be what plays a hand in that. Pearson: And it's interesting you mention that, I was speaking to a group of lenders and they had all, not all of them, but a lot of them had talked about how maybe they've done a refinance or a restructuring already with some of their borrowers and that one was okay. They had the equity, they had the working capital, they had the business in decent enough shape to do it once. Their concern is can we do it again? And that's the answer that I guess we'll be getting as we get into December and January and renewal season. Martin: Yes, and I'm kind of concerned too because we still see piles of corn that never moved at some of these larger elevator groups and that has to be farmer owned corn and that's a concern. Pearson: They're just hanging onto it. Now, this time we've got a question from Phil in Ontario, Canada. He's got a couple of questions. He wants to know, why does the USDA consistently overestimate soybean stocks? Or, another way to look at it is, why do they underestimate soybean demand? Martin: Well, first off, demand in any market is usually hard to really quantify. It seems easier after you look backwards and you see what we've done. If you look at our exports, we're running behind the five year average, and even China's imports for the month of August was down about one and a half percent, or one and a half million metric tons I should say, from what it was a year ago. So it seems like we should be -- and yet we've seen good demand. But it makes you wonder are they front end loading? And they might be. But on the same token, if they're going to cut or try to dissuade DDG imports of corn that competes against soy meal, well then that would say that they're probably going to have to have more soybeans or soybean meal down the road.