“It wasn’t taken as good news at the time because late planting many times means lower yields. We’re still a little behind, but things are looking better than last year and better than this past spring.”

Moving forward, Brazil and Argentina will remain the biggest competitors to the U.S., says Williams.

“We need to keep our finger on the pulse of Brazil because ultimately they’re our biggest competition on the global market. As for the U.S. crop, we don’t know yet if the initial low pod counts will translate into low yields. It didn’t look so good at this time last year, but once the combines started to roll, it was much better than expected.”

The U.S. has the infrastructure to get its crop out and to deliver exports, he says. “Even though we’re more expensive than Brazil, it gives us an edge with those customers who don’t want to wait.

Looking ahead to next year’s soybean acreage, Williams says corn prices haven’t been holding their own as well as soybean prices, and that’ll be a factor, particularly if ending stocks end up lower than expected.

“Soybeans will be a stronger competitor for acreage next year, so at this point I think we’ll see an uptick in soybean acres for next year to offset some of the lower production this year. Price depends on the final yield and acres. A big question is how many acres did not get planted that aren’t showing up in current reports?