The bigger supply question is the size of the 2011 soybean crop. The next forecast will be released Oct. 12.

USDA’s September average national yield forecast was 41.8 bushels to the acre, 0.4 bushel above the September forecast.  

From 1975 through 2010 the September yield forecast exceeded the August forecast 17 times, as it did this year. In 10 of those 17 years, the October U.S. average yield forecast exceeded the September forecast.  

The increase ranged from 0.1 bushels to 2.3 bushels. In 8 of those 10 years, the January yield estimate exceeded the October forecast.

“There is some tendency, then, for a yield increase in September to be followed by further increases”, Good said. He tempers that thought with the yet to be determined impact of the mid-September frost and freeze in the northern Midwest.

The other factor driving supply is acreage.

The uncertainty on this point rests with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) estimate of planted acreage for those producers participating in federal programs.  

That FSA estimate is 1.375 million acres (1.8 percent) less than the current National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimate of planted acreage.

It compares to a difference of 1.086 million (1.4 percent), in 2010 and 1.045 million (1.3 percent) in 2009. The larger difference suggests the NASS October estimate of planted acreage could be reduced by 340,000 to 350,000 acres.

The USDA stocks and crop production forecasts will set the supply stage for the coming fiscal year. The trade will then turn to the pace of soybean consumption.

Weekly USDA data will provide a steady flow of export information, but the monthly Census Bureau domestic soybean crush estimate along with estimates of soybean meal and oil production and stocks will be missing. These reports were terminated in a budget-cutting exercise.  

The National Oilseed Processors Association provides an alternate monthly estimate for its membership.

Good noted that not all of the soybean crush capacity is represented by members of that Association. “The lack of monthly information comes at a time of tight supplies when more information, not less, is needed,” he said.  

The lacking Census data will result in more uncertainty about the pace of consumption and will put more focus on USDA’s quarterly estimates of soybean stocks.