Perspective for the Soybean Market

We’ll know a lot more about where the price of soybeans is headed at the end of this month. Still, it is useful to understand how price arrived where it is today.

Last fall USDA projected there would be about 475 million bushels of soybeans leftover by the close of the marketing year. That’s this fall. The agency has trimmed that number back over time. This month the target is 330 million bushels.

Usage has been really strong and it is important to remember says University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good, but it did not change the balance sheet very much in this one month. Over time it has, however, been really supportive to the price of soybeans - keeping them above $9 a bushel on the board. Demand has held the bottom end of the market.

Supply, in the coming marketing year on-the-other-hand, is the problem at hand. The June 30th Acreage report is supposed to help clarify this matter. The spring rains, especially in Kansas and Missouri, may cause that not to happen says Good.

Quote Summary - The June acreage report will be interesting this year, for those two states and maybe more, because it will in fact still reflect some intentions for those acres not planted at survey time. How will producers report those intentions? Are they still planning to plant all the soybean acres if it dries out? Or have they already made a decision to abandon and go to prevent plant? So, even after the June number is released, uncertainty about acreage will remain. It will make the August and September FSA Prevent Plant acreage reports an important way to tweak the June number.

A tweak of three to five million acres of prevent plant for soybeans, thinks Darrel Good, would be enough to change the balance, shifting the overwhelming supply of soybeans that so far appears to be coming - consequently now pegged at 475 million bushels just like last year - to something far more supportive of price.