"There will have to be some cutbacks in soybean use, as well – the USDA says 110 million bushels, mostly from an 85 million bushel reduction in exports," Hurt said.
The major wild card in whether soybean stocks continue to shrink is the South American crop, which is being planted now. Should South America have favorable weather, both Roberts and Hurt said the crop could make up for the shortages from the U.S. yields. Especially since farmers in countries like Argentina and Brazil will grow more acres of soybeans than in previous years.
"The amount of Chinese soybean purchases will be up 9 percent this year," he said. "South American exports will increase, as both Argentina and Brazil have about 5 percent more acres and should return to more normal yields after a 5 percent below-trendline yield last year. South America will cover all of the new purchases from China."
If the weather in South America holds up, farmers in the U.S. can expect to see soybean prices remain strong through Thanksgiving, Hurt said. After that, prices could be fairly flat through the winter. However, unfavorable growing conditions in South America would send prices up quickly.
USDA currently expects the U.S. average farm price for soybeans to range from $12.65 to $14.65 per bushel. Corn should range a record-high $6.50 to $7.50.
Now that the September report is on the books, Roberts said market watchers will quickly turn their attention back to the weather and the broader economy until the October figures are released.
"That's when the outlook board and NASS fully incorporate Farm Service Agency acreage data," he said. "We should expect an acreage cut in that report, which means there likely will be further projected cuts to consumption, also."
The full September report is available for free download on the Web at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1046