With Summer temperatures topping out around the United States, the heat could have consequences beyond rising electric bills. Corn and soybean crops will reach maturity over the next few weeks, but the dry heat affecting growing areas of the US could erode crop conditions. As the historically largest exporter of soybeans and corn, U.S. farmers have a lot of pressure to ensure a strong harvest this year but analysts are already predicting another rough summer for the commodity supply [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
With applications in oils, animal feed and in our own meals, soybeans have become a staple crop in the U.S. and many other nations. While soybeans are originally from Southeast Asia, with Chinese farmers among the first to domesticate the crop, the U.S. currently both produces and exports more than any country in the world. But holding the majority of the world’s supply of this legume has made the U.S. extremely vulnerable to a new trend that looks to have a big impact on the commodity’s price [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Soybeans originated in Southeast Asia and Chinese farmers were the first to domesticate the plant and reap its rewards. The crop quickly became a staple in China, Japan, and Korea, while it wasn’t introduced in Europe until the 18th century. Soybeans quickly gained popularity and spread all over the world, reaching South America in the late 19th century. Today, Brazil and Argentina are top world producers of soybeans, while the United States leads the way in total production. Traditional uses include soy milk, tofu, and soy vegetable oil. Soybean meal is also a primary component of animal feed due to its valuable protein content and its relatively low-cost to produce. Interestingly enough, soybeans can produce roughly twice as much protein per acre as any other major vegetable or grain, making it incredibly appealing to producers and health-minded consumers.