Turning to soybean disappearance, Williams says the two primary uses are soybean crush — to make meal and oil — and exports.

“Exports this year are looking good. They’re trending higher. Crush is down but not a lot. I don’t see demand dropping too much because of the decrease in crush. Demand is still there. All livestock numbers are supposed to be up, and a lot of the feed sources for those animals include soybeans. Whenever you have more animals, you’ve got to feed those animals. That will help to maintain soybean demand.”

Even though production is looking better this year, the U.S. is not a lot higher on ending stocks, he says.

“Right now we’re projected at 150 million bushels for soybean ending stocks. Last year, we were at 125. So we’re only 25 million bushels higher. Looking back at that 73-million bushel difference in the FSA and the WASDE reports, that’s half of what our ending stocks are projected to be this year.”

The national average soybean price last year was $14.75 to $15 per bushel, notes Williams.

“We’re not quite at that level this year, but we’re still holding strong in the soybean market, and it’s highly dependent on ending stocks. That’s the big question going forward.”

Last year, soybean futures were $17 per bushel, and that was during a drought, he adds. “And then when harvest starting coming in last year, it didn’t look quite as bad, and futures started to come down.

“Then, this past spring, we had too much moisture and couldn’t get our crop in the field. That caused prices to go up, though not as much as last year. Then, as the summer began, it became apparent that growers were getting the crop in at a record pace, so prices came back down. But during some of the Midwest crop tours, they started talking about low pod counts, and that brought prices back up.”

There’s a large variety of prices in the Southeast, and the basis seems dependant on the ability to get the crop moved out, he says. “In Louisiana, they’re pushing a basis of 90 cents to $1, but that’s a port price, near New Orleans.”

The general observation this year was that a cool, wet spring delayed planting, says Williams.