U.S. farmers are likely to plant more soybeans in 2024 as rising demand for soy-based biofuels should boost profits, and many plan to cut back on corn acreage with futures prices for that grain hovering around three-year lows.
According to a report at Reuters, a larger U.S. soybean crop would help meet booming demand for renewable diesel fuel and animal feed at a time when drought is slashing soybean production in Brazil, the world's top supplier. Another top supplier, Argentina, lacks soybeans after a severe drought last year.
At the the National Grain and Feed Association’s (NGFA) Country Elevator Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, last week, Dan Basse, economist and founder of AgResource Company, predicted the U.S. is looking at the most disruptive period for U.S. biofuel supplies have ever seen. He sees domestic U.S. soyoil demand outstripping production in 2025.
”U.S. soyoil stocks will tighten, which produces the need to ration U.S. soyoil/canola oil food use and engender vegoil imports for food,” he said. “As 630 million bushels of new soybean crush plants come online by 2026, the U.S. will need an extra 9 to 11 million bushels of soybeans in 2026 as the U.S. soybean crush rate reaches 3 billion bushels.”
U.S. corn supplies are abundant after a record-large crop in 2023. By September 1, before the 2024 crop is harvested, U.S. corn stockpiles are projected to top 2.1 billion bushels, a five-year high.
Early forecasts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and at least one private firm showing expanded U.S. soybean acreage in 2024 and a reduction in corn acres. On November 7, the USDA projected growers would plant 87 million acres to soybeans in 2024, up 3.4 million acres from 2023. Corn plantings would fall to 91 million acres, down 3.9 million acres, USDA said.
S&P Global released similar projections last month, pegging U.S. corn plantings at 91.350 million acres and soybean plantings at 87.150 million acres, according to an S&P document seen by Reuters.