Editors' Notebook

Changes and Challenges

Greg D Horstmeier
By  Greg D. Horstmeier , DTN Editor-in-Chief
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Among the news this week is DTN Contributing Analyst Elaine Kub's announcement of a sabbatical of sorts as she trades checking cows for studying case law. Link to her latest Kub's Den column in the story. (Photo courtesy of Elaine Kub)

It's been a bit of a busy week around the DTN news offices. Wednesday's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report came amid a lot of conflicting views of the size and condition of 2024 grain and oilseed crops, both in the United States and elsewhere.

We also looked at some of the challenges facing cattle producers with a livestock-focused free webinar on June 14.

And we're seeing some changes in the voices that you're used to reading and hearing from on these electronic pages.

The latest WASDE numbers were a bit of a rehash of May, so they didn't really push markets one way or the other, though anything shy of a bullish surprise was bearish. In general that's where we landed Wednesday afternoon at market close, with commodity prices mixed to down slightly.

As DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman noted in his report preview, USDA crop progress reports show 91% of the corn crop planted as of June 2, 2 percentage points above the five-year average. On the flip side, Hultman also noted that the planting pace is the second slowest in 10 years, and continued wet weather could add up to a significant amount of prevented plant acres.

For our review of the June WASDE report by DTN Senior Market Analyst Dana Mantini, see here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

Given relatively good soil moisture conditions (see https://www.dtnpf.com/…), and the high yields that portends, it's likely that only a significant slip in total planted acres will put a dent in large grain stocks that are holding down prices. As Hultman noted in his WASDE preview piece earlier in the week, the first set of planted acres numbers comes with USDA's June 28 acreage report. We'll be covering that report in real time, just after its 11 a.m. CDT release that day.

Friday's webinar was another in our continuing DTN Ag Summit Series events, which are mini-versions of our annual DTN Ag Summit held each December. In our latest event, Navigating the Cattle Market's Ups and Downs, Host and DTN Farm Business Editor Katie Dehlinger kicked things off in a discussion of Livestock Revenue Protection plans with Cody Dvorak, Rabobank Services Manager, who also answered several questions including examples of how it could be beneficially used. Then our audience got a thorough livestock market outlook from DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart, who did an excellent job of putting today's market in perspective but also what can be expected ahead.

We wrapped up with a review of all the sessions and general livestock discussion with DTN Senior Livestock Editor Jennifer Carrico.

One of the things that stood out in the webinar was when ShayLe and Jennifer both shared some details about their own personal cattle businesses as they also gave insights on the cattle industry. What was discussed during the Summit was very relevant to them. Both are committed to helping the industry do its best because they have a personal stake in it with their families.

In the near future DTN will provide a link for Friday's session for those to wish to watch it again or if they missed it the first time.

To make sure you don't miss out on the next one, watch these pages and your email box for future notes. You can also register for planned free Ag Summit sessions we'll have during the rest of the year here: https://www.dtn.com/….

Back to Wednesday, that day also marked the last Kub's Den column for a while. Markets analyst Elaine Kub shares in that thoughtful and thought-provoking piece on ambiguous losses that she's embarking on some changes and challenges via a new career path: law school.

Long-time DTN followers will know that Elaine has been a key part of our content since she came on board as a fresh-from-grad-school analyst some 18 years ago. After several years on the DTN analyst team, Elaine moved back to her South Dakota farm to tend things there, as well as to hang out her own market advisor shingle. She continued to write her regular column on markets and farm life, and has also been a key backup markets analyst as needed.

Many of you have also had the chance to meet her during one of her many speaking engagements. If you've been a Kub fan, as we have, we know you've grown to appreciate not only her keen insight into commodity markets, but her insights into life in general. While we'll miss the commentary of her columns, we're all super-excited for Elaine, and can't wait to see where this new path takes her. We're pretty certain where ever that leads, she'll be great at it.

As one of our number said, at hearing the news, "If I ever walked into a courtroom and saw Elaine Kub was the other party's lawyer, I'd just settle the case and get out of there."

In the meantime, Elaine promises to stay in touch, and to share some of the observances and lessons she's sure to gain while alternating between the classroom and her farm. I, for one, can't wait for the next installment to show up. You can read her latest piece here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

I'm a firm believer that life should be full of changes and challenges. Anything less risks stagnation.

To challenges, and changes. And outcomes yet to come.

Greg D. Horstmeier can be reached at greg.horstmeier@dtn.com

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Greg Horstmeier