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Washington Week in Review: August 2, 2018: Farm bill, appropriations

The Senate voted to go to conference on the farm bill and named its conferees shortly before heading out of town for an August break. Agri-Pulse's Phil Brasher and Spencer Chase have more.

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Ag by the numbers

U.S. soybean prices reach a 9-year low

US soybean ERS chart

Soybean prices collapsed in June under the combined pressure of favorable U.S. growing conditions, an increase in sown acreage, large old-crop stocks, and China’s tariff hike on imports from the United States. On June 1, cash soybean prices for central Illinois were $9.86 per bushel but, by early July, had plummeted to just above $8.00. Not since December 2008 have prices for the crop been that low. Following China’s recent implementation of an additional 25-percent ad valorem tariff on U.S. soybeans, USDA lowered its 2018/19 export forecast by 250 million bushels this month to 2.04 billion. Lowered export expectations—along with a very bright outlook for soybean crop conditions and for estimated acreage harvested—lowered prices. As a result of the outlook for crop conditions and for estimated acreage harvested, USDA raised its production forecast to 4.31 billion. Only last year’s record harvest of 4.39 billion bushels would be larger. Provided the crop continues to develop without major difficulties, post-harvest prices this fall are likely to be even lower. This chart appears in the ERS Oil Crops Outlook newsletter released in July 2018.