By Katie Micik
DTN Markets Editor
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been corrected to fix a conversion error. The report is issued in short tons, but we erred by using metric tons to convert the estimates into bushels. Please see the corrected figures below.
OMAHA (DTN) -- Soybean processors crushed 146 million bushels, or 4.38 million short tons, of soybeans in August, according to the inaugural Fats and Oils report released by USDA on Thursday.
That's down from 156 mb (4.68 million tons) in July and 151.6 mb (4.55 tons) in June.
The report is the first national crush report since 2011, when the U.S. Census Bureau discontinued the report due to budget constraints. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service received funding to take over national crush reporting in early 2014 and spent much of the following years establishing contacts, developing surveys and building a baseline set of data.
The report was originally scheduled to be released on Aug. 3, but NASS delayed it "in order to obtain sufficient survey responses to publish accurate, official government statistics," according to a press release.
From 2011 until now, the only source of soybean crushing data was from the National Oilseed Processors Association, a trade group that represents 13 crushing companies. Thomson Reuters bought exclusive rights to distribute NOPA reports in 2013.
DTN Analyst Todd Hultman said it's nice to have public access to soybean crush data once again.
"USDA's new crush totals confirmed that NOPA's numbers were at roughly 93% to 95% of the totals from May through August, a decent approximation," Hultman said. "Even so, it is still good to have these crush totals confirmed and made publicly available as it helps make a fairer market for everyone."
The NASS report, officially titled "Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks," is part of the Current Agricultural Industrial reports, which also include "Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production" and "Cotton System Consumption and Stocks" reports. Those two reports have been published since February.
The Fat and Oils report includes monthly crush and production of crude oil from a variety of agricultural commodities including soybeans, canola, cottonseed, palm, sunflower and other vegetable oil sources.
It also includes production and consumption of selected fats and oils as well as monthly stocks estimates of selected fats and oils.
Hultman said he thinks the soybean oil inventory number will be one that farmers, traders and analysts watch in addition to total soybeans crushed.
"USDA's report that 1.30 billion pounds of soybean oil were on hand at the end of August is less than NOPA's estimate of 1.48 billion pounds and may give soybean oil prices some bullish help," Hultman said.
The "Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks" report can be found here: http://bit.ly/…
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