May 18, 2016

Initial 2016 U.S. Soybean Production Estimate - 3.88 Billion Bushels

In the March Prospective Planting report, the USDA estimated that U.S. farmers would plant 82.2 million acres of soybeans. At the time, I thought that number was OK or maybe even a little high. Currently, I think that number is now too low due to mainly the potential switching of corn to soybeans. The soybean price are now more attractive than the corn price and I think a few of the late-planted corn fields will get switched to soybean instead.

Therefore, I am now estimating that U.S. farmers will plant 84.0 million acres of soybeans. If farmers plant 84.0 million acres, then they would harvest 83.1 million (99% of the planted acreage). As far as the soybean yield is concerned, I am going to use the same trend line yield that was used in the WASDE report - 46.7 bushels per acre. The soybean yield will be determined during July and August. Soybeans can start off looking very ragged with poor color, slow growth, less than desired plant populations, etc., but they can end up doing very well if the weather during July and August cooperates.

As with the corn estimate, these soybean estimates are very preliminary and are certain to change as the season progresses.

2016 U.S. soybean planted acreage84.0 million acres
2016 U.S. soybean harvested acreage 83.1 million acres
2016 U.S. soybean yield 46.7 bushels per acre
2016 U.S. soybean production3.88 billion bushels