US corn, soybean numbers take analysts by surprise


By Crystal Futrell, Meat+Poultry



KANSAS CITY, MO. — The September Crop Production report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) before the gut slot harvest of this year’s corn and soybean crops took analysts by surprise. Just last month, the USDA forecast record-high 2022 US soybean production as well as higher-than-expected acres planted to corn in its August Crop Production report.


But a lot can happen in a month, and 30-plus days of above-average temperatures with little to no rainfall throughout the Corn Belt ultimately led to a significant reversal in harvest expectations.


In its Sept. 12 Crop Production report, the USDA forecast the soybean yield at 50.5 bushels per acre, down 2.7% from an all-time high projection of 51.9 bushels per acre last month, and down 1.8% from 51.4 bushels per acre in 2021. Soybean production was estimated at 4.378 billion bushels, down 3.4% from the record-high 4.531 billion bushels projected in August, and down 1.3% from 4.435 billion bushels produced a year ago. The September estimates fell not only well below the average trade expectation of 4.496 billion bushels produced with a yield of 51.5 bushels per acre, but they also landed outside the expected range of trade expectations.


“People were not positioned well for that kind of a cut, and the market showed their surprise,” said Brian Harris, executive director and owner, Global Risk Management.


After the midday reports were released, Chicago soybean futures surged, pulling soybean meal and soybean oil futures higher as well. But Harris said he felt the rally may have been too sharp given the season’s timeframe.


“I’m not sure the prices we’ve reached will be sustainable with the harvest upon us, and we’re probably a little higher than we need to be,” Harris said, adding he expected soybean prices to settle down to $14 to $14.25 a bushel in coming weeks. The day after the report was released...