While U.S. soybean supplies now are a bit tighter than corn, producers should keep in mind that “the markets are more comfortable with a tight soybean supply than with tight corn supply,” says John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Federation deputy chief economist in Washington.

“The USDA’s ending stocks-to-use ratio of 4.6 percent for soybeans is a really small number,” he said at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. “But, we know South America is going to come in at the middle of the soybean marketing year with their production.

“For corn, though, we’re by far the biggest  player in that market. China produces a lot, but they export hardly any. We overwhelm any other country in terms of corn production.

“But that’s not the case with soybeans. The South Americans are comparable to us in terms of their export presence. So, the market is comfortable living with tighter U.S. soybean supplies because they know there is another major supplier, and that when South America’s beans come in during the middle of the marketing year it will help to smooth out supplies.

“We’re not as uptight about a 5 percent stocks-to-use ratio for soybeans as we are for corn. But the soybean situation right now is about as tight as we ever get.”

The impact of the Midwest drought on soybean yields this year was not nearly as great as on corn, Anderson says.

“Some key soybean areas got late rains, and there were a lot of surprises in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, at how well their soybeans turned out. The beans bounced back and were a lot better than had been expected.

“It’s still a fairly low yield compared to the last five or six years  — the lowest we’ve had — and we’re in a little tighter supply situation because of that."