DES MOINES (DTN)--U.S. farmers are expected to plant a record-breaking 75.41 million acres of soybeans this year and although soybean stocks will drop well below one billion bushels, the figure didn't fall as much as the trade had anticipated. However, even in the face of that classically bearish situation, some analysts still harbor bullish hopes.
Despite appearing initially bearish, the long-term outlook for soybeans in USDA's prospective plantings and stocks report remains bullish, said Darin Newsom, DTN grains analyst.
"The increase of two million soybean acres will do little to alleviate the tight world fundamental situation if either the acreage estimate or trendline yield isn't realized," Newsom said.
Soybean stocks fell below the psychologically sensitive one billion bushel mark. "Below one billion bushels at this time of year, if usage runs on average, puts us at critical levels," Newsom said. He added the only reason the stocks figure was viewed as bearish and not bullish was that it wasn't as low as anticipated.
"The 906 million bushels stocks figure is the lowest March 1 number since 1989," he said.
Market reaction to the soybean data will probably be short-lived, Newsom said, allowing the market to begin to focus on actual planting progress, crop conditions, supply and demand factors, and the weather.
Low global soybean supplies and a low soybean stocks-to-use ratio are two other bullish factors. "On a global basis, soybeans' stocks-to-use ratio is at a very low 8.5 percent," Dan Basse of Ag Resource said March 31. "Plus, because of the U.S. short crop last year, and this year's short crop coming out of South America, the estimated loss between the two major growing areas is 1.1 billion bushels, that has never happened (before)."
Whenever the world stocks-to-use ratio falls below 15 percent, the trade starts to worry, according to Newsom.
A good U.S. crop season will buffer the effects of low world soybean supplies, Don Roose of U.S. Commodities in Des Moines told DTN. "Overall, it's unlikely to have back-to-back bad weather seasons in both the U.S. and South America," he said.
The "revolving door" of soybean supplies with a new crop produced about every six months somewhere in the world, will help replenish the world stockpile, Roose said, and it might even flood the market with available beans.
"As it looks, more U.S. southern farmers this year will plant more soybeans that would be marketed in August. This crop would follow soybean marketings from South America from May to July," Roose said. "Plus, the market will be seeing even more fresh U.S. soybeans in November. And that would be followed by South America's second crop of soybeans."
A flood of soybeans would be detrimental to prices, but Roose said he doesn't see CBOT November soybean futures going below the $6.00 per bushel level.
If corn prices rise enough to buy back bean acres, the flood of soybeans could be avoided. "With corn stocks tight and harder to replenish than soybeans, we are going to need to buy corn acres this spring," Basse said. "December corn needs to move higher to get acres back from soybeans."
Weather will play a part in determining how much corn and soybeans actually get planted. "If we get into weather trouble, farmers would switch to beans from corn quicker than normal because of price," Roose said.