The U.S. soybean production for the 2015/16 year was estimated at a record 3.930 billion bushels (see Figure 1). USDA’s January 2016 WASDE report indicated that the latest estimate was cut by 51 million bushels compared to the previous month based on reduced estimated harvest and yield. Harvest declined from 82.4 million acres, the December estimate, to 81.8 million acres. Yield, was lowered 0.3 bushels/acre to 48 bushels/acre. Even with this decrease, the 2015/16 yield was a record, increasing 0.5 bushels/acre compared to 2014/15. Adding this record production to larger beginning inventories and it ends up expanding the 2015/16 total supply to 4.150 billion bushels, 98 million bushels greater than last year.
The 2015/16 projection for soybean crush, was left unchanged from the December projection and is expected to increase about 1.0% to 1.890 billion bushels compared to 2014/15. Based on the projection, 48% of the 2015/16 production will be used for soybean crush (see Figure 1). Soybean exports, on the other hand, are expected to represent 43% of the 2015/16 production. Seed and residual will represent 3% of the current marketing year production and 219 million bushels of the new crop are expected to be part of the ending stocks or 6% of the total 2015/16 production. The latest 2015/16 soybean export projection was reduced by 25 million bushels to 1.690 billion bushels relative to the December projection because of lower sales and shipments to date due to the tough competition from South America (Brazil and Argentina), mainly as a result of the strong U.S. dollar. The 2015/16 U.S. export projection is expected to fall 8.3% year-over-year.
The January 2016 projection for 2015/16 ending stocks was down 5.4% to 440 million bushels from the previous month; nevertheless, ending stocks are projected to be the largest since 2006/07. The projected range for the 2015/16 soybean price was reduced 10 cents on each end to $8.05 to $9.55/bushel (mid-range $8.80/bushel).
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