The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) issued its mid-month member crush and stocks report on Friday, February 15. The January data showed that members crushed 4,671 metric tons (MT), or approximately 172 million bushels, in the month. This is a new monthly record ahead of 4,439 MT, or about 163 million bushels, crushed last January but was down slightly from member crush reported for December. The monthly chart that follows shows that U.S. soybean processors have been running at historic rates in recent months, thanks to strong processing margins and ample domestic soybean supplies.

Source: National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA)

As a result of the crush, processors produced 904 thousand tonnes of soybean oil along with 3,634 thousand tonnes of soybean meal in the month. The recent trend continues this year for a larger portion of soybean oil yielded from a U.S. soybean, which comes at the expense of lower soybean meal content. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reflected early marketing year yield data in its February World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimate (WASDE) report, which saw USDA raise its implied soybean oil yield and lower its implied soybean meal yield projections in their 2018/19 soy product balance sheets.

History suggests that soybeans typically yield more oil when plants are stressed during their pod filling stages late in the seeds’ development but weather data from this past growing season and weekly crop ratings do not suggest that plants were under high levels of stress late in pod development. Regardless of the cause, experience says that soybeans harvested from the U.S. this past fall will yield more soybean oil than normal. This will be an added benefit for buyers who value soybean oil produced for food or fuel use.