USDA Pegs U.S. Soy Production Down, Still the Fifth Highest Yield on Record

In its October World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, U.S. Department of Agriculture analysts adjusted the national average soybean yield down 0.5 bushel from its September forecast to 49.6 bushels per acre. At 82.8 million acres, USDA puts U.S. soybean production at 4.1 billion bushels.

Mike McCranie, a U.S. Soy farmer from Claremont, South Dakota is finishing up soybean harvest this week, and he shares that his growing season got off to a rough start due to near record snowfall where he farms. However, they received timely rains in July and he’s harvesting the last of his soybean fields.

“We are looking at probably anywhere from 45-50 bushels per acre on this last field, which is a remarkable win,” McCranie says.

Lower U.S. production is partially offset by higher beginning stocks with supplies reduced 24 million bushels, also pushing exports down by 35 million bushels to 1.76 billion.

“As we look at U.S. Soy, these numbers continue to show the innovation throughout the value chain,” says Jim Sutter, Chief Executive Officer for the U.S. Soybean Export Council. “Despite weather challenges in the field, U.S. Soy farmers on the whole are still achieving solid production numbers which is a testament to a) their agronomic and water management systems, a focus on soil health, and sustainability practices; and b) their commitment to continuous improvement.”

Looking at global soybean supplies, USDA analysts lowered soybean exports for the 2023/24 marketing year by 0.2 million tons to 168.2 million tons.

Of note, soybean imports for Pakistan were lowered as well as India’s soybean production due to weather challenges.

Meanwhile, global soybean crush moved slightly higher to 328.5 million tons (an increase of 0.8 million tons) led by China and the United States. China’s crush is raised 1.0 million tons to 97 million, which analysts say is in line with higher domestic soybean meal demand in the prior marketing year.

Rounding things out, global soybean ending stocks were lowered to 115.6 million tons, a decrease of 3.6 million tons, primarily due to lower stocks for Brazil, China and India.

According to Marty Ruikka, President of The ProExporter Network, its 10-year outlook illustrates a stable and steady increase in U.S. soybean complex export supply.

“This week’s WASDE report does little to change this forecast,” he says. “We expect the flexibility and quality of the supply chain to respond to some of the short-term challenges.”

Quick Stats from the October WASDE report:

  • U.S. soybean production is forecast at 4.1 billion bushels, down 42 million bushels. This is due to a drop in yield of 0.5 bushels per acre from the September forecast to 49.6 bushels per acre for the average U.S. soybean yield for the 2023 crop year.
  • USDA analysts reduced soybean exports by 35 million bushels to 1.76 billion bushels, and ending stocks remain unchanged from last month at 220 million bushels.
  • India’s soybean production was lowered by 1.0 million tons to 11 million tons.
  • Global soybean exports for 2023/24 are lowered 0.2 million tons to 168.2 million.
  • Global soybean crush increased to 328.5 million tons, up 0.8 million tons on higher crush in China and the United States.
  • Global soybean ending stocks decreased 3.6 million tons to 115.6 million tons, mainly on lower stocks for China, Brazil, and India.

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This story was partially funded by U.S. Soy farmers, their checkoff and the soy value chain.