USA on brink of storage crisis for soyabeans
November 15, 2018
Storage costs for US soyabeans are expected to be at a premium this season as the commodity will need to fight for space along with corn and wheat crops, according to World Grain.
Soyabean production is forecast by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to hit a record 4.69bn bushels this year, a 6% increase from 4.411bn bushels in 2017, according to its 11 October crop report.
And with China spurning US soyabeans in its ongoing trade war with the country, the USA faces a glut of soyabeans as supplies carry over from the 2018/19 marketing year.
“It’s going to put a lot of pressure on the grain storage system in those states where you have the most grain,” said Stephen Nicholson, a food and agribusiness analyst and vice-president of Rabobank AgriFinance. “Capacity utilisation will be higher again this year because you have a huge bean carryout, you still have a pretty decent-sized corn carryout too, only two- or three-hundred million bushels lower than what we had a year ago”.
US storage capacity at 1 December 2017 was 13.45bn bushels, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) January Grain Stocks report. Accounting for 60% of US on-farm storage capacity was 2.1bn bushels in Iowa, 1.55bn bushels in Minnesota, 1.47bn bushels in Illinois, 1.18bn bushels in Nebraska, 900M bushels in North Dakota and 850M bushels in Indiana.
The Dakotas and other Northern states would suffer most from storage limitations after the decimation of the Chinese export programme which used to transport soyabeans from the Pacific Northwest, World Grain reported. Soyabean growers would now have use rivers and trade routes leading down to the Gulf of Mexico.
“We’ve got some business, we just need to redirect a lot of it,” an industry source said. “The North Dakota, South Dakota, western Minnesota beans that were always a tributary to the West coast are going to have to find a new home,” an industry source said .
Producers in those states may be driven to use temporary storage solutions, such as silos or harvest bags, sometimes used at the end of the harvest to maximise storage.
“One thing that’s probably helped a little bit with the storage situation is that the harvest has been delayed in a number of states because of wet weather,” the industry source said. “If we would have had more normal harvest weather, drier weather, there would be a lot more beans coming in without the outlets we’ve had for it in the past couple years.”
The USDA said the soyabean harvest in 18 states was 38% completed by 14 October, down from 47% in 2017 and 53% as a recent five-year average.