Soybeans Could Be at Bigger Risk of Yield Cut, 2020 Acreage Boost

US Farm Report Roundtable 1
USDA continues to trim its national yield and carryout forecast for soybeans. University of Missouri economists say that could set the stage for better prices and bigger acreage next year. ( Farm Journal )

As farmers across the U.S. rush to save and harvest bushels sitting in the field, USDA isn’t budging much on its national estimate for corn yield. The latest USDA Crop Production report showed a national corn yield estimate of 168.4, slightly higher than the 168.2 USDA estimated in September.

Seth Meyer of University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) thinks it will be tough to see USDA make a dramatic revision to the national corn yield, largely due to the time of the year.

“It’s possible, but it’s unlikely at this point,” said Meyer. “Historically, those yields start to really narrow down by the October estimate. And yes, we can talk about the crop is behind, a little bit less mature, but there still isn’t a strong relationship over time. You shouldn’t expect large yield and area changes from this point going forward.”

Soybeans could be a different story. USDA lowered the national soybean yield estimate, while also trimming ending stocks. USDA dropped 2019/2020 soybean ending stocks forecast to 460 million bushels, down from the 640 million bushels forecast last month.

“We’re in a much better place with less than 500 million bushels of carryout, according to USDA,” said Scott Brown, University of Missouri economist. “I think you could put weather on top of that and say, ‘maybe soybeans are a little more at risk’ as we get through this year in terms of the yield side.  That could shorten the crop up even more.”

If USDA does trim yield, production and carryout even more, FAPRI’s Pat Westhoff thinks it could also start to change the acreage rhetoric for next year.

“If you look at soybean prices relative to corn right now, soybeans may be an okay choice or 2020,” said Westhoff. “You can imagine if we plant the number of acres for both corn and soybeans that people thought they were going to plant this year,  before all the weather problems, that would give you more supplies of both crops.”

With a possible increase in acreage next year, Brown thinks it’s wise for a farmer to possibly look at pricing new crop, as well.

“We could be in a very difficult situation next year to find pricing opportunities with big crops being put in the ground and normal yields,” said Brown.

Listen to the full marketing discussion from U.S. Farm Report’s 2019 College Roadshow stop at University of Missouri.

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