Tractor pulling grain wagons

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

'Slight reduction' to soybean numbers

October 5, 2023 | Jeff Hutton

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Grain Stocks report late last week showed old crop soybeans stored in all positions on Sept. 1, 2023, totaled 268 million bushels, down 2% from the same time last year.

According to NASS, soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 72 million bushels, up 14% from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 196 million bushels, were down 7% from last September. Indicated disappearance for June-August 2023 totaled 528 million bushels, down 24% from the same period a year earlier.

Grant Kimberley, senior director of market development at Iowa Soybean Association, says the report was not surprising.

“Honestly, it looks like a report with minimal changes from a soybean perspective with slight reduction to old crop soybeans stored in all positions and a slight reduction to the previous season’s soybean production,” he says.

The estimate for 2022 soybean production was revised down 5.93 million bushels from the previous estimate. NASS indicated the adjustment is based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushings, and farm program administrative data.

The estimate for the planted area was unchanged at 87.5 million acres, but harvested acres was revised to 86.2 million acres. The 2022 yield, at 49.6 bushels per acre, was revised up 0.1 bushel from the previous estimate.

Kimberley says a better understanding of soybean stocks will likely be available in the near future.

“It might take until the January report to get a clearer picture of supply and demand,” he says.

Other crops

Meanwhile, NASS showed that the old crop corn stocks on hand as of Sept. 1, 2023, totaled 1.36 billion bushels, down 1% from Sept. 1, 2022.

Of the total corn stocks, 605 million bushels were stored on farms, up 19% from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 756 million bushels, were down 13% from a year ago. The June-August 2023 indicated disappearance was 2.75 billion bushels, compared with 2.97 billion bushels during the same period a year earlier.

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Nice weather helps with harvest

The recent harvest report from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) indicated favorable weather conditions pushed crop harvest progress forward.

“With an assist from a burst of summer-like weather, combines are rolling across Iowa,” says Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig. “Despite cooler temperatures arriving later this week, forecasts show mostly dry conditions through early October, which should allow harvest to continue at a steady pace.”

Nearly 25% of the state’s soybean crop had been harvested as of Oct. 1, IDALS noted. This was one day ahead of last year but equal to the average. Soybean conditions improved 2 percentage points to 49% good to excellent.

Corn maturity reached 92% this week, eight days ahead of last year and 13 days ahead of the five-year average. Corn harvested for grain reached 16% statewide, four days ahead of both last year and the average. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was 20%. Corn condition improved slightly to 51% good to excellent.

This year’s dry weather continues to be evident in the fields, with nearly 75% of topsoil moisture rated short-very short. Subsoil moisture condition rated 36% very short, 43% short, 20% adequate and 1% surplus.

Pasture condition rated 15% good to excellent. Livestock producers have continued to haul hay and water to their livestock on pasture. 

Conditions will remain mostly dry as temperatures drop this Friday and Saturday, reaching highs only in the mid- to upper-50s and lows in the 30s.

Temperatures will rebound a bit as they are expected to reach the mid-60s and 70s next week.