Soybean Supply & Demand Tug of War
FarmDocDaily Article by Darrel Good, University of Illinois
It looks like this year’s U.S. soybean crop may be a bit smaller than expected, but at the same time it appears there is a corresponding drop in need.
Although “need” might be a pretty strong term.
U of I ag economist Darrel Good has put the price tug of war related to supply and demand into context as positives and negatives. Here’s a list of items supporting a higher price for soybeans.
First, on the supply side, the smaller than expected June 1 USDA stocks estimate. It resulted in the agency lowering the projection of this year’s ending stocks (what’s going to be leftover when we get to the fall) to 255 million bushels. That’s 75 million bushels less than the month earlier and 220 million bushels less than what USDA thought might be left when the first projections started coming out last year.
Second on the list is the June 30 USDA Acreage report. It predicts harvested acreage of soybeans this year will be about 700,000 acres more than projected based on the planting intentions reported in March. However, there is a general consensus that not all of the intended acreage was actually planted due to extremely wet conditions in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. In addition, flood damage may result in more than the usual amount of abandonment of acreage that did get planted. So while the acreage number is the largest on record right now, it is expected that will drop.
Thirdly, those same wet conditions should result in a lower average U.S. soybean yield. Something below the projection of 46 bushels per acre in the July 10 WASDE report.
In short, the 2015 crop is expected to be smaller than the current USDA projection of 3.885 billion bushels, but expectations are in a pretty wide range. USDA will release the first survey based production forecast in the Crop Production report August 12. That report will reflect the results of the re-survey of soybean planted and harvested acreage in Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas.
Fourth, consumption of old crop soybeans remains strong and on track to reach record levels. This goes for domestic usage, called the crush, and the export market. Unshipped sales of 94 million bushels as of July 9 were sufficient to supply the necessary shipments to meet the export goal.
This brings us to the concerns, or the negatives, Darrel Good puts on the ledger.
The concern about soybean demand centers on potential export demand for the 2015 crop. USDA puts it 50 million bushels smaller than this year, but on-the-other-hand, this year is a record high.
Still sales for next year are dismal. They only represent 14 percent of the projection. Over the past three years, at this time, sales have been at least twice that big, and as much as three times. And, the number one destination is the cause. Sales to China, by far the largest customer for U.S. soybeans, stood at only 89.5 million bushels as of July 9. Sales to unknown destinations, which likely include China, totaled 120 million bushels. In the previous three years, combined sales to China and unknown destinations averaged 457 million bushels, compared to only 209.5 million bushels this year.
It is possible, says Darrel Good, that the slow pace of new crop export sales so far this year reflects a shift away from the recent seasonal pattern of export sales back to the pattern that prevailed during the period from 2006 through 2010. During those five years, new crop export sales as of about July 9 accounted for an average of only 14 percent of marketing year exports.
So, those are the positives and the negatives of the soybean market as detailed by Darrel Good on the Farm Doc Daily website.