Should You Consider a 'Soybean Swap'?

May 17, 2016 04:58 PM

The May 10, 2016, WASDE reports from USDA rocketed up soybean futures $0.50 per bu., but the upward trend has been happening for the past two months. In early march, July ’16 futures were trading below $9 – now, they’re well above $10.

Chris Hurt, ag economist with Purdue University, notes that prices have risen around 25% since March 1. Compare that to corn, which has seen a much more modest 4% gain over the same time period.

“Given prospects for high-priced soybeans and low-priced corn, the financial incentive to shift corn acres to soybeans has reached new highs,” he says.

Will farmers make an acreage swap? Many still have an opportunity. As of May 8, 2016, the Midwest has 64% of the corn crop planted and 23% soybeans planted.

Purdue ag economists project that soybeans could net $116 more per acre than corn in 2016.

“This is one of the highest incentives to shift from one crop to another we have ever seen,” he says. “Delayed planting this spring may actually turn out to be a financial blessing if farmers end up planting more soybean acres.”

ProFarmer editor Brian Grete recently told AgDay how likely it would be to see a modest acreage switch to soybeans.

Want more video news? Watch it on AgDay.

Anecdotally, Paul Georgy with Allendale, Inc., says some of their Minnesota customers are switching some of their spring wheat acres to soybeans.

“A customer said he heard the market report on Tuesday while he was planting wheat,” he says. “He came to the end of the field, emptied the wheat out of the drill and replaced it with soybeans, and planted soybeans on the balance of his acreage.”

Soybean prices have been buoyed by several factors this spring, including weather concerns from South America, high demand from China and U.S. and global stocks falling faster than previously expected.

Could soybean prices climb even higher? Rabobank warns that the May 10 report could have been “overdone” and prices could remain volatile moving forward. In the video below, marketer Kevin McNew with Grain Hedge speculates what would be needed to push soybeans above $11.

Are you planning a “soybean swap” in 2016, or are you staying the course with planting intentions on your farm? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Spell Check

Gordon V. Briggs
Scottville, MI
5/16/2016 05:19 AM

  After the May 10th report we switched out 20% of our corn acres to soybeans. If our winter wheat didn't look so good, we probably would have switched some of our wheat acres out too.

Alexandria, MN
5/14/2016 09:10 PM

  Am staying the same.. Set up my marketing plan over two months ago, jumped a little early when the rally started sold a little higher lately.... When I added it all up I was only a dime or so below my target price average.... Now, to get corn on the marks.... ;)


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