Fundamentally Speaking

Beans Stocks to Remain Tight

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst
Graphic by Joel Karlin, DTN Contributing Analyst

March 2021 soybeans have moved to their highest levels in over a month, although are still not back to their contract high, but November and other new crop months are at new highs.

It appears that soybeans have quite a bit of work to do to steal acreage from corn and even attain last week's USDA 2021 planted projection of 90 million acres.

It seems USDA's corn planted area at 92 million acres looks a little low with the trade closer to 93 million.

Given ideas of any early start to plantings, a lot of fieldwork done last fall and corn looking better than soybeans on a net return per acre basis, 94 million acres may be closer to the mark and this may work against the predicted large increase in bean acreage.

USDA argues that with 2019 and 2020 seeing above normal prevented plantings, simply going back to normal planting weather would increase total planted acres by several million acres.

This matrix showing prospective 2021/22 U.S. soybean ending stocks in million bushels with various combinations of planted area and yields illustrates what a pickle we are in.

Numbers in cells are beginning stocks which is the February 2021 WASDE figure of 120 million bushels and to that we add this year's production (planted acreage) going across the top on the x-axis and the normal harvested/planted ratio of 99% times prospective yields going down on the y axis in bushels per acre.

To that we add the 35 million bushels of imports USDA projected as per their updated 2021/22 soybean balance sheet and from that total supply the updated USDA demand figure of 4.534 billion bushels (bb) is subtracted.

As noted, USDA projects the soybean area will expand by 7 million acres to 90 million and even assuming that, you are going to need a yield close to the record 51.9 bpa just to get ending stocks closer to 200 million bushels.

An area of 89 million will need something closer to 52.5 while a yield of 50.0 bpa will require acreage of 93 million just to get the carryout close to 200 million bushels.


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