Hurricane Ida, fund liquidations wreak havoc on ag markets

AgweekTV's Michelle Rook and Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management ...

It was another tough week in the markets, for both grain and livestock, AgweekTV's Michelle Rook said on the Agweek Market Wrap, sponsored by Gateway Building Systems.

Some of it, she and Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management explained, was due to fund liquidation. But a lot had to do with damage to ports from Hurricane Ida.

"It definitely does knock (ports) out, and they're not going to be available until the early part of harvest starting," Martinson said, noting some ports might be out longer than that.

Martinson said the Sept. 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report also is a "black cloud" over the market. Many people are expecting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to raise both acreage and yield for corn.

This isn't the normal time of year for those types of adjustments, Rook pointed out.


"Why is USDA making these adjustments in acreage?" she asked, pointing out that such changes usually come in October reports.

Martinson said the USDA has indicated they have enough information to show that fast planting led to more corn acres and fewer soybean acres. Plus, recent rains in the Northern Plains have increased yield outlooks for North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. However, he said much of the damage was done in earlier August.

"I think we'll see a little bit of an increase in yield but I don't expect it to be more than one or two bushels for those states and I think they'll leave it unchanged for the rest," Martinson said.

Demand for corn and soybeans will likely depend on the outlook for buying from China.

Wheat, in part, followed corn and soybeans lower, but also demand has been slower than expected. The damaged ports also hurt, Martinson said.

"That hurts us a little more on the wheat side, because wheat is what we should be shipping right now," he said.

Rook and Martinson expect a big jump in the number of acres planted to winter wheat, both because of recent rains and because of higher crop insurance guarantees.

Rook said a massive fund liquidation hit the cattle market hard, and she questioned whether it needed to drop as much as it did.


"I don't think the drop was justified," Martinson said.

He said exports continue to set records, and while COVID-19 concerns are affecting the outlook for domestic demand, it hasn't been a big problem yet. There also are concerns about more cattle "coming to town" as ranchers liquidate due to drought and lack of feed.

"A lot of producers are evaluating feed supplies, and they're looking at how far they can stretch, and I think we're going to see quite a few cow-calf operations start to liquidate some more just to . . . get through the winter without having to buy too much feed," he said.

Hogs also were down, but Rook said she felt like that market held up better than the cattle did. The hog market seems to trade in an up and down fashion lately, she said.

"It seems like the hogs are waiting for something, and I don' t know what that something is, but they seem to be waiting for some news to come in," Martinson agree.

To watch previous episodes of the Agweek Market Wrap, click here.

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