Soybean bears are pointing to the fact August weather across a large portion of the U.S. has been extremely mild with ample moisture. In respect, the USDA continues to bump their weekly crop conditions a hair higher, this week up another +1% to 61% rated "Good-to-Excellent" vs. 73% last year at this stage.
Conditions in South Dakota improved +7% this week; Mississippi improved +5%; Arkansas, Nebraska and North Dakota improved +4% this week; Missouri +3%; Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio +2%. Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee were "unchanged". Louisiana conditions feel by -4%; Illinois -3%; Kansas, Michigan and Minnesota -2%; Wisconsin -1%.
Soybeans "dropping leaves" are now reported at 6%, running just slightly ahead of our historical 5-year pace. Bottom-line, there's very little new or any type of weather event to disrupt bearish talk of record planted acres and a yield north of 47 bushels per acre.
The USDA's current yield estimate of 49.4 bushels per acre, seemed like a real stretch a few weeks back, but with the extremely mild-August weather is making it tougher and tougher to argue they are very far off. Yes, there are certainly some areas to the North and to the East that need a more serious drink, but from a widespread nationwide perspective things look fairly cooperative.
I think there's way too much "variability" from field-to-field and county-to-county to produce any type of record U.S. national yield, but I promise some producers will be putting this years crops in the record books as one of their best ever. As a bull we have to continue to closely monitor weather changes and complications being created down South by the hurricane.
Any significant harvest delays in the Delta and down South could create some temporary pockets of extremely strong bids. I will also be keeping a close eye on the cooler than normal temps and possible freeze implications as we move deeper into September. I still see this market stuck in a nearby $1.00 trading range as it tries to figure out final U.S. production numbers.
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