U.S. soybeans to tally over 90.0 mmt
U.S. soybean output in the 2013-14 marketing year is expected to rise above 90 million metric tons for the first time in three years, despite late plantings and below-normal temperatures in recent weeks, several industry officials and farmers said here Wednesday.
"Temperatures in the major soybean-growing areas have been warmer in the past week, and there is a forecast that the trend will continue in the near-term, helping the crop grow better," Randy Mann, chairman of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said here on the sidelines of an international grain conference.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture slashed its forecast for the country's soybean output in the next marketing year that starts Sept. 1 by almost 5% to 88.6 million tons, citing lower-than-expected yields. Growers expect the estimate to be revised higher again.
Temperatures in many soybean-growing regions of Northern Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota which 10 days ago were below normal at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit are now above 90 degrees, and this will help in better pod formation in the soybean plant, said the council's chief executive, Jim Sutter.
The U.S. is the world's largest soybean producer and second-largest exporter after Brazil. The U.S. had to import almost 1 million tons of soybeans in the current marketing year due to a severe drought in 2012 and has critically low inventories of less than 3.5 million tons, according to the latest USDA estimate.
"There are still six weeks to go before the harvest commences, and we can still get a crop of more than 90 million tons," said Mr. Mann, who plants corn on around 1,800 acres of his farm in Kentucky. Recent below-normal temperatures have raised fears of an early frost, which can damage the crop.
However, Drew Lerner, a Kansas-based meteorologist with World Weather Inc., said in a recent forecast that there will be enough warmth around in late August and early September to delay frost arrival by a week or two in parts of the corn belt.
If there is no early arrival of frost, potential losses due to delayed plantings will be offset, and U.S. soybean output will bounce back above 90 million tons, said Sharon Covert, a soybean and corn grower with a 2,400-acre farm in Tiskilwa, Illinois.
"Not all growers planted soybeans late, and we're expecting yields as high as 50 bushels an acre on our farm, while the state average in Ohio is expected around 47 bushels," said Daniel Corcoran, owner of the 2,400-acre Corcoran Farms in Piketon, Ohio.
The USDA has put the official annual yield forecast at 42.6 bushels/acre, but the export council's Mr. Mann said warmer temperatures in September may result in a national average yield of around 44 bushels or higher.
Write to Sameer C. Mohindru at email@example.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 21, 2013 07:13 ET (11:13 GMT)