While corn and spring wheat are both experiencing a price rally as they battle for acres, soybeans are not really enjoined in that fight, although prices do remain high, as well, sitting in the high $15 range.
“Soybeans are a little different story,” said Luke Swenson, president of The Money Farm, West Fargo, N.D., in referencing the fact corn and wheat are fighting a little in playing the acres game.
“The difference on the bean side is that domestically we’ve already sold everything we could sell, South America’s got the world export trade shipping locked up for the next six months, and there’s really not much extra of a story there,” he said.
“The only thing that could really affect that is what happens to fringe acres in the Dakotas and up in the Canadian prairies as we get, say 5 million acres in these areas that are in really rough shape,” he continued. “If they don’t get any moisture until mid-May or early June and they turn around and throw in some beans on this … is that something that messes with those acres, and I’m a little concerned there might be. That’s one thing that concerns us and it almost has us a little more hedge happy in soybeans than we are in corn.
“It’s something we’re keeping an eye on, but fundamentally, it just seems that the more calm story (is beans),” he noted, adding the irony in that statement because beans were up 30 cents when he gave his report.
“There’s just going to be a lot of volatility bouncing around this thing. I just think it’s going to be the corn and wheat markets that are more waves than beans than the other way around.”
The only question coming out of that is going to be decided at the end of June when USDA comes out with its actual planted acres number, according to Swenson.
“I think for bean numbers we might get a little supportive number out of June,” he said. “But for the most part we’re looking at a tight stocks number and they’re just going to be supportive on their own. (Beans) will just kind of stand off to the side and let corn fight with some of the other products at the moment.”
Looking ahead to the coming weeks, Swenson said the market will be watching the dryness across Brazil for the rest of the month of May. If conditions there stay dry he feels the market “is going to keep running.” And if they get moisture the next thing the market will shift over to is the Northern Plains of the U.S., and what is happening with the specialty crop areas in North Dakota, South Dakota, northern Minnesota and up into Canada.
“You’ve got oilseeds, sunflowers, edibles, (and others), that are on fire trying to source acres,” he said “That’s the second thing people are going to be paying attention to. I think the third thing is, does China do anything to start softening their tone on domestic demand for the next six months?”
Looking at local prices, at one local elevator in west central Minnesota regularly followed in this column, as of May 11, the May cash price for soybeans was $15.91 and basis was -5 cents under. The October 2021 futures price was listed at $14.15 and basis was a positive +1 cent over.
“In southeast North Dakota, right now you’ve got people pushing $13.75 for soybeans straight off the combine, which is absolutely unheard of,” he said. “Today (May 11), we’re over $16 cash beans on old crop – if you have any left.”