National Oilseed Processors Association  (NOPA) monthly soybean  crush data released on Monday morning was negative for soybean prices as it indicated processor activity remained slower than expected during April.
On the supportive side, NOPA members did report a lower-than-expected stock of soybean oil, but the soyoil market showed limited reaction to the news.
NOPA estimated its members’ April crush at 121.3 million bushels, 9.7% below their March crush and 7.9% below the April 2010 NOPA crush of 131.7 million bushels.
The NOPA crush also came in below trade expectations averaging 128.7 million bushels in a range from 124 million to 131 million.
USDA  currently projects the U.S. 2010-2011 crush at 1.650 billion bushels, 5.8% below year earlier, but through March, the full U.S. crush was running 7.4% behind last year.
High soymeal and soyoil yields helped limit the April crush. NOPA pegged the April soymeal yield at 48.18 lbs./bu., up from 48.04 lbs. in March and 46.88 lbs. in April 2010.
The NOPA April soyoil yield came in at 11.72 lbs./bu., up from 11.65 lbs. in March and up 4.7% from the yield of 11.19 lbs. reported in April 2010.
Weak demand for soymeal also continues to limit crushing activity. Reduced use of soymeal in U.S. livestock feed due to increased feeding of DDGs and wheat has limited soymeal demand along with a slowdown in U.S. export vs. last year due to increased competition from India and South America.
NOPA reported member soyoil stocks declined at an unexpectedly fast rate of 11.9% during April. End-April NOPA soyoil stocks totaled 2.694 billion pounds, compared with 3.059 billion pounds a month earlier and 2.812 billion pounds a year earlier.
The soyoil stocks figure was well below trade expectations, which averaged 2.987 billion lbs. in a range from 2.907 billion to 3.040 billion pounds.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.