Monday the Department of Agriculture reported 78-percent of the U.S. soybean crop had been planted and 50-percent had emerged. If this season closes in line with USDA’s May estimates – DTN reports U.S. ending stocks at 9.6-percent of annual use would be significantly higher than the current season’s record low of 3.8-percent. DTN Grains Analyst Todd Hultman says the bearish outlook for new-crop soybeans seems reasonable – but the road to harvest could bring some surprises. Hultman says there are two key market issues he will be paying attention to the rest of this year. One is USDA’s Acreage Report – set to be released on June 30th. After the department’s Prospective Plantings Report on March 31st – Hultman says everyone seems to know corn acres will be down this year and soybean acres will be a record high of around 81.5-million. USDA’s March 31st estimates boast a 90-percent confidence interval of around three-percent – but Hultman says 90-percent is not a guarantee – and even a three-percent smaller planting would put soybean acres at 79-million – which would lead to an eighth straight year of below-average soybean supplies.
The other issue Hultman will be watching regards world ending stocks of soybeans from USDA’s latest WASDE report. He says USDA bases ending stocks for Argentina and Brazil on an artificial October 1 to September 30 crop year – while soybean supplies for Brazil are drawn down until January 31 and Argentina’s until March 31. Using local marketing years – he says this error would estimate Brazil’s ending soybean stocks at 329-million bushels for 2014-2015 instead of 902-million cited in May’s WASDE – and Argentina’s would be 552-million – way under the 1.145-billion reported in the WASDE. Still – with those adjustments – Hultman says the total 881-million bushels for both countries looks suspiciously overstated. He makes that statement because USDA expects exports from Brazil to increase by 18-million bushels this year.