Will Soybean Consumption Reach USDA Projection

Last year U.S. farmers harvested a record sized soybean crop. The price of soybeans plummeted, but not yet as far as the most negative nellies expected. There is a glimmer in some of the USDA numbers that might explain why.

This glimmer won’t raise the current cash price of soybeans. There are plenty of them around, and that’s not going to change writes University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good in his April 20th Weekly Outlook. You can find it online at the Farm Doc Daily website.

It could lend a supportive hand, however, to the price of new crop soybeans. Frankly this isn’t very clear, but here is the short version. If USDA has consumption of soybeans for this year right, and the uncertainty in the March 1 stocks on hand for soybeans has correctly hinted at a smaller harvested crop last fall, then a correction would be due in the September 30th release of the Grain Stocks report. This happened last year says Darrel Good.
Quote Summary - September 1, 2014 stocks were 38 million bushels smaller than expected just three weeks before the release of the stocks report. The level of uncertainty this year is magnified by the March 1, 2015 stocks estimate that hinted that the 2014 crop may have been overestimated.
How much of an over estimate remains to be seen. It’s a glimmer of hope for the price of new crop soybeans. A glimmer that depends greatly on the pace of old crop soybean consumption. About 45 percent of the soybeans raised in the United States are exported. So we’ll focus only on that number. USDA in the April estimates said this marketing year 1.79 billion bushels of soybeans would be shipped out of the country. The total export commitments have already reached this number says Good.
Quote Summary - However, some current outstanding sales may be cancelled and it is typical for some sales to be carried into the next marketing year. Additional net sales of about 60 million bushels are probably needed if exports are to reach the USDA projection for the year.
So the export number looks safe as does the domestic crush figure. USDA could adjust either of these going forward in the monthly reports, but today this looks unlikely. It leaves the quarterly grain stocks number as the tipping point. There are two more of those reports remaining for the old crop - June and September. Even when those numbers come out, it isn’t clear how USDA will use them until the following WASDE or supply and demand table is released. So it will be October before any glimmer could be truly identified.