Woodford harvest

Soybean harvest rolls along in Woodford County on a nearly ideal October afternoon. Harvest progress reached the quarter mark in Illinois as of Oct. 5, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service Illinois field office. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)

USDA trimmed its latest crop production estimates as expected Friday.

But one of the biggest cuts occurred with 2020/21 soybean ending stocks as the Ag Department reduced that estimate by 170 million bushels to 290 million bushels.

“The surprise was the carryout number for beans,” Curt Kimmel, market analyst with Bates Commodities in Normal, told the RFD Radio Network. “It kind of explains strong cash bids we’ve seen in beans.”

Corn and soybean prices continued a recent harvest rally following the release of USDA’s crop production and world ag supply and demand estimates reports. Average price estimates for 2020/21 increased by 55 cents for beans (to $9.80 per bushel), 20 cents for wheat (to $4.70) and 10 cents for corn (to $3.60 per bushel).

“After seeing an exciting week of trading, we topped it off with the report, which also brought a little excitement,” Randy Martinson, of Martinson Ag Risk Management, said during a teleconference hosted by the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. “It was friendly for soybeans and neutral to slightly negative for wheat and corn.”

USDA lowered crop production estimates as of Oct. 1 to 14.72 billion bushels of corn (down 178 million bushels from last month) and 4.27 billion bushels of beans (down 45 million bushels).

National yield averages currently sit at record levels – 178.4 bushels per acre for corn (down .1 of a bushel from last month) and 51.9 bushels of beans (unchanged). USDA lowered its crop yield estimates in Illinois as of Oct. 1 to 200 bushels per acre for corn (down 3 bushels form last month) and 60 bushels for beans (down 2 bushels).

Stock estimates for 2020/21 show 2.16 billion bushels of corn, down 336 million bushels, and 883 million bushels of wheat, down 42 million bushels to the lowest level in six years.

“USDA raised (soybean exports) by 75 million bushels because of the strong demand we’re seeing from China,” Martinson noted. “All in all, the numbers for soybeans were a little on the friendly order.”

Meanwhile, USDA raised its sorghum production estimate a tick due in part to .2 of a bushel national yield increase, to 74.1 bushels per acre.

The most recent tightening of the balance sheets follows USDA’s Sept. 1 stocks estimates that show old-crop corn stocks in all positions at 2 billion bushels, down 10% from the same time last year, and old-crop soybean stocks at 523 million bushels, down 42% from 2019.

“It’ll give the market some direction,” Martinson added of the recent round of USDA reports. “New we’re looking at weather” with dryness concerns spanning from parts of the U.S. to Russia and South America.