Those who visited the Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo on Thursday could attend free programs by experts in the commodity markets. There was also a drawing for a $5,000 drone, complete with training, just for attending the KBUF Risk Management and Market Forum. Larry Brown from Scott City was the winner.
“Last year we gave away a (restored) tractor,” said John Jenkinson from KBUF radio. BTI/AG Solutions provided the drone.
“This (drone) technology is going to be a big plus for agriculture,” said Kent Kirk with BTI.
Jenkinson was joined by Arlan Suderman, senior market analyst for Water Street Solutions. Laura Bannon, meteorologist with KSN television, also came on stage to give a brief weather report. There’s a chance for showers on Saturday, widespread rain Sunday and Monday, and another possible cold snap next week.
The price of market commodities is still based on supply and demand, but is also influenced by the flow of money, Suderman said. When the USDA releases a crop report, as it did Thursday, algorithmic traders react to headlines within seconds, while human traders are still opening the reports. But there are still tools that humans can rely on for making wise marketing decision.
Jenkinson asked why wheat prices aren’t higher. “We’ve seen winter kill, we’ve seen drought kill; why does what continue to fall?”
Wall Street fund managers base their decisions on global headlines – especially headlines about how the wheat crop in Russia is doing, he said. The value of the dollar also affects imports. The Euro is weaker than the U.S. dollar, which means it costs more to buy U.S. products overseas.
Cheap crude oil also affects farmers and ranchers, Suderman noted. It hurts the demand for ethanol and biodiesel fuel, but it does cut the producers’ fuel costs.
“Avian flu is a big concern for the meat industry,” Suderman said. Other countries won’t buy chicken from U.S. states that have it, and that creates a glut on the domestic market. However, the top two poultry producing states, Alabama and Georgia, have not reported cases of avian flu.
The Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo will open again at 9 this morning and run until 4 p.m. at the Expo Complex west of Great Bend. Today’s programs include horse training demonstrations, stock dog demonstrations and a forum on “New Technologies and Farming Techniques.” At 11 a.m., Sharp Bros Seed will present “Benefits and Technology of Hybrid Alfalfa and the Latest Cover Crop Techniques.”