Soybeans poised for record harvest

By Dave Nilles | September 01, 2006
The U.S. soybean harvest is poised to set records while corn totals appear ready to dip slightly for the second straight year, according to the USDA's latest estimates released today.

Soybean production is forecast at 3.19 billion bushels, which is up 4 percent from the last growing season. Yields may just miss setting a new record, as estimates put this year's average at 42.8 bushels per acre, down just 0.2 bushels per acre from last year's record high. Prices are projected at $4.90 to $5.90 per bushel.

Global oilseed production is projected at 390.4 million tons, which is up 3.9 million tons from last month's figures and up 2.1 million tons from 2005. Foreign oilseed production is projected higher due to increased rapeseed, sunflowerseed and cottonseed production. Rapeseed production is projected higher in several European countries, including major biodiesel producer Germany. Increased palm oil production in Malaysia is also credited with the increase in the world oilseed market.

U.S. corn production is expected to reach 10.9 billion bushels, down more than 200 million bushels from the previous month's estimates and down from 2005's 10.91 billion bushel harvest. A record 11.81 billion bushels was harvested in 2004. This year will be the fourth consecutive time more than 10 billion bushels of corn have been harvested in the United States.

Demand from export markets and the rapidly growing U.S. ethanol industry is expected to drive prices higher. The projected price range is up 25 cents to $2.20 to $2.60 per bushel. Last year the U.S. ethanol industry used more than 13 percent of the corn harvest.

Corn yields are expected to average 153 bushels per acre, which would be the second largest on record behind 2004. Early harvest results in the central Corn Belt revealed that hot, dry summer conditions had reduced yield potential more than anticipated.

Dave Nilles is Online Editor for Biodiesel Magazine. Reach him at or (701) 373-0636.

Posted: 12:06 p.m. CDT Thursday, October 12, 2006
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