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Soybeans Soar on Weather Worries to Break $10 Barrier

Thanks to concerns about the South American crop, soybeans soared again on Wednesday, climbing more than 20 cents to break the $10 barrier for May through August futures contracts.

The reason is weather, says Chip Flory, editorial director of Pro Farmer and host of the daily radio show Market Rally

In Argentina, heavy rains have caused significant harvest delays and raised questions about the condition of the country’s soybean crop, given reports of beans sprouting in the pod.  “We don’t know how widespread it is,” warns Flory. Still, the prospect is worrisome, given the likely negative impacts on the quality of soy meal and soy oil as well.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, the worry is dry weather and falling production numbers for the Brazilian bean crop. “The Brazilian crop isn’t as good as it was,” says Flory.

Against such a backdrop, soybean prices are skyrocketing.

“Importers are getting concerned about the ability of South America to deliver what they are expecting,” says Flory. “The spreads today—it’s just shocking what has happened.”

For example, cash soybean contracts jumped 35 cents Wednesday to close at $9.604. May and July futures both rose more than 24 cents to land at $10.096 and $10.19, respectively. August soybeans also gained more than 22 cents to close at $10.192.

For contracts farther into the future, movement was more muted, with September beans rising just more than 12 cents to $10.082 and November soybean futures inching up almost 4 cents to $9.996.

“It’s a pretty strong signal we’ve got some demand going into the future,” says Flory.

Could the market be overreacting? It remains to be seen.  “One thing that has the market on edge right now is that soybean production could be anywhere from 1 million tons lower to 10 million tons lower,” says Flory. “If it’s 10 million tons lower, then the move (in the soybean prices) is justified.”

As the soybean price uncertainty continues, perhaps for the next few weeks, some farmers are already rethinking their plan to go heavy on corn this spring and shift some acres into soybeans.

“I’m not expecting a 2-million acre move from corn to soybeans, but half a million acres seems possible based on the conversations I’m hearing,” Flory says. 

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