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May 12 WASDE Review

Article cover photo
Hampton ISA member April Hemmes plants the 2020 soybean crop. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Compiled by Bethany Baratta, ISA senior writer, from the May 12 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report

The 2020/21 outlook for U.S. soybeans is higher for supplies, crush, exports, and lower ending stocks compared to 2019/20. The USDA projects 83.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted in the United States, up 7.4 million acres from the April report. As of May 11, 71% of Iowa’s expected soybean crop had been planted.

For U.S. soybeans, the 2019/2020 (old crop) ending stocks are estimated at 580 million bushels, up from the USDA’s April estimate of 480 million bushels.

New-crop U.S. soybean ending stocks for the 2020/2021 marketing year are projected at 405 million bushels, 25 million bushels off trade expectations.

The U.S. soybean crop is projected at 4.125 billion bushels, up 568 million from last year on increased harvested area and trend yields. Despite lower beginning stocks (580 million bushels), soybean supplies are projected up 5 percent from 2019/20 to 4.720 billion bushels, according to the report.

The 2020/21 U.S. season-average soybean price is projected at $8.20 per bushel, down 30 cents from 2019/20.

Global soybean stocks

Global soybean production is forecast up 26.6 million tons to 362.8 million tons, with Brazil’s crop rising 7 million tons to 131 million, Argentina’s crop is up 2.5 million tons to 53.5 million tons, and U.S. production rising from last year’s decline. Partly offsetting are smaller soybean crops projected for China and Ukraine.

With higher protein meal demand, soybean exports are expected to increase 8 million tons to 161.9 million tons. China accounts for most of the increase in shipments with imports rising 4 million tons to 96 million tons. Global soybean ending stocks are projected at 98.4 million tons, down 1.9 million from 2019/20. Lower year-over-year U.S. stocks offset higher stocks in China, Brazil and Argentina.

Corn outlook

The May 12 report forecast U.S. corn plantings at 97 million acres, up 7.3 million acres from the April report based on the March prospective plantings report.

As of May 10, Iowa farmers have planted 91% of the expected corn crop, almost a month ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of the 5-year average.

In the report, the USDA estimated U.S. corn old-crop ending stocks at 2.098 billion bushels. That’s slightly below the April estimate of 2.092 billion.

U.S. corn ending stocks for 2020/2021 are estimated at 3.318 billion bushels.

Total corn supplies are forecast record high at 18.1 billion bushels. Total U.S. corn use in 2020/21 is forecast to rise relative to a year ago with increases for domestic use and exports. Corn used for ethanol is projected to increase from the 2019/20 COVID-19 reduced levels, based on expectations of a rebound in U.S. motor gasoline consumption, the USDA said.

Corn feed and residual use is projected higher mostly reflecting a larger crop and lower expected prices. U.S. 2020/21 corn exports are forecast to rise 375 million bushels to 2,150 million, driven by growth in world corn trade. U.S. market share is expected to increase from the 2019/20 multi-year low but remains below the average level seen during 2015/16 to 2019/20 with expected competition from Argentina, Brazil and Ukraine. With total U.S. corn supply rising more than use, 2020/21 U.S. ending stocks are up 1.2 billion bushels from last year and if realized would be the highest since 1987/88.

The season average farm price is projected at $3.20 per bushel, down 40 cents from 2019/20 and the lowest since 2006/07.

Contact Bethany Baratta at

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