Soybean Crop May Gain 2.2% on More Planting, Ample Rain, U.S. Agency Says

The U.S. soybean crop will be 2.2 percent larger than a year ago after farmers planted more and warm weather and ample rainfall helped boost yield potential, the government said.

The harvest will total 3.433 billion bushels, up from a record 3.359 billion in 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in its first survey-based estimate for this year’s crop. The average estimate of 28 analysts questioned by Bloomberg News was 3.36 billion bushels. A month ago, the USDA predicted a crop of 3.345 billion bushels.

“Demand is going to be good but there will be plenty of supplies” Steve Nicholson, a commodity-procurement specialist at International Food Products Corp. in St. Louis, said earlier this week.

The report was released before the start of trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans for November delivery yesterday fell 6.5 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $10.155 a bushel. The most-active contract has dropped 2.2 percent from a year ago.

Rising supplies of soybeans may improve margins for oilseed processors such as Bunge Ltd. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. The crush spread -- the difference between the cost of a bushel of soybeans and the value of the meal and oil it can produce -- has risen 20 percent this year.

Record Acreage

A record 78.87 million acres (36 million hectares) of soybeans were sown this year, up 1.8 percent from 2009, according to the USDA. Farmers boosted soybean and corn acreage after excessive rain cut winter-wheat plantings.

Each acre will produce an estimated 44 bushels of soybeans, unchanged from last year’s record, the USDA said. Analysts expected 43.1 bushels, on average. In July, the department forecast an average yield of 42.9 bushels.

Reserve supplies before next year’s harvest will total 360 million bushels, unchanged from a month ago, the USDA said. Survey respondents expected 336 million, on average. The surplus on Aug. 31 of this year will rise to 160 million bushels, from 138 million bushels a year earlier, the smallest since 2004, according to the report.

Soybean cash prices will average $9.25 a bushel in the crop year that begins Sept. 1, up from $8.85 forecast a month ago and down from $9.60 this year, the USDA said.

World soybean output in the crop year that begins Oct. 1 will total 253.7 million metric tons, up from 251.3 million tons forecast a month ago and down from a record 259.9 million last year, the USDA said.

Global consumption will reach a record 250.9 million tons, compared with 247.6 million tons forecast in July and 237.4 million this year, according to the USDA.

Inventories next year before the Northern Hemisphere harvests will total 64.7 million tons, up from 63.5 million this year. Traders surveyed expected 66.87 million tons, on average.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

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