Iowa, U.S. soybean farmers harvest colossal crop

The nation's soybean crop keeps growing. Fortunately for Iowa soybean farmers, so does demand, according to industry analysts and government reports. Still, with the good crop, prices for pork producers will be favorable. This is good news with the present outlook for pork.

U.S. soybean production is forecast at an all-time high 4.27 billion bu., according to the October U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Crop Production Report. That's up 2% from last month and 9% higher than last year's record harvest.

Soybean yields nationwide, due to near ideal growing conditions in much of the Midwest, are expected to average a record 51.4 bu. per acre, the report said.

That's nearly 1 bu. more than last month's estimate and 3.4 bu. above last year.

Iowa farmers are in the process of harvesting their best soybean crop ever, according to the report. Production and yields, which remained unchanged from last month, are estimated at 551 million bu. and 58 bu. per acre, respectively.

"I'm seeing everything from astonishing to good yields, and good quality as well," Rolland Schnell, president of the Iowa Soybean Association, said.

Luckily for soybean farmers, analysts say demand is nearly matching production.

"For soybeans, we're on a record pace to get things sold," said Al Kluis, owner of Kluis Commodities of Wayzata, Minnesota.

U.S. soybean exports for 2016/17 are projected to exceed 2 billion bu. for the time, according to the USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report. That's a 40-million-bu. increase from last month.

The domestic soybean crush is forecast at a record 1.95 billion bu., unchanged from last month, the WASDE Report indicates. Ending stocks for 2016/17 are estimated at 395 million bu., data shows.

Even though ending stock estimates for the current marketing year increased 30 million bu. from last month and are nearly double last year's final tally, industry experts don't consider them highly burdensome given strong sales.

The favorable stocks-to-use ratio is one reason soybean prices haven't hit rock bottom after three record crops in a row, industry officials say. Prices are projected at $8.30 to $9.80 per bushel, according to government estimates.