The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) issued its mid-month member crush and stocks report on December 15. The November data showed that members crushed 4,544 metric tons (MT) or approximately 167 million bushels, in the month. This is down from a monthly record of 6,333 MT, or about 172 million bushels, crushed in October. On a per-day basis, processing was slightly greater due to the shorter calendar month.
As a result of the crush, processors produced 882 thousand tonnes of soybean oil along with 3,540 thousand tonnes of soybean meal in the month. This year’s processing yields have been somewhat contrary to recent trends as new-crop U.S. soybeans have yielded a larger percentage of soybean oil than is seen in most recent years. November data showed that for each bushel of soybeans, the crush yielded 19.4 percent soybean oil. This was a record-large for the month and compares with 19.1 percent reported the same month last year. History suggests that soybeans typically yield more oil when plants are stressed during their pod filling stages late in the seeds’ development but historical data from this past growing season and weekly crop ratings do not suggest that plants were under high levels of stress ahead of harvest. 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, and is a feature that will also lead to additional export opportunities for U.S. soybean oil in the coming months.