U.S. books latest end to soy harvest in a decade

Vanessa Kummer checks the quality of her family farm’s 2018 soybean crops near Colfax, N.D. on Aug. 6, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Dan Koeck)

MarketsFarm —The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in its oilseed crops outlook issued Wednesday, said the country’s 2019 soybean harvest will wind up the latest in 10 years.

As of Sunday, the overall U.S. soybean harvest stood at 85 per cent complete, according to USDA’s weekly crop progress report. The pace was two points behind this time last year and seven off of the five-year average.

The oil crops outlook cited delays to spring planting, a cool summer and wet conditions during the fall as the main reasons for this year’s harvest being so late. Furthermore, snow across much of the northern Plains made the harvest more difficult.

Added to that, the supply of propane hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand. Farmers wanting propane for grain dryers are forced to contend with home-heating demand, which in turn has raised propane prices, running up farmers’ expenses.

While less production has been forecast in North Dakota, Michigan and several southeastern states, that’s been countered somewhat by gains in Minnesota, Indiana, Kansas and Nebraska.

However, USDA lowered its projection for soybean production to 3.55 billion bushels in its November supply and demand report. Although down slightly from its October estimate, USDA’s forecast is 20 per cent less than last year’s harvest.

Despite that decline, USDA also projected an increase in ending stocks to 475 million bushels. The outlook called for the domestic crush to slip by 15 million bushels, to now 2.105 billion. As well, soymeal exports have dropped by 14 per cent from this time last year.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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