Soybean Futures

Soybean Futures The three main producers of soy in the world are, in the following order: the U.S., Brazil, and Argentina. However, soybeans were essential to Asian cultures for hundreds of years before Western cultivation began, and today China falls just outside of the top three producers into the number four slot. Farmers enjoy the benefits of planting soybean because it clears the field for other food crops and naturally fixes the nitrogen levels in the soil that otherwise inhibit the growth of some plants. In the U.S., soybean was not even used as a food product until after the 1920s, before which it was largely considered exclusively an industrial product.

Soybean Futures Contract Specifications
Contract Size 5,000 bushels (~136 Metric Tons)
Deliverable Grade #2 Yellow at contract price,
#1 Yellow at a 6 cent/bushel premium,
#3 Yellow at a 6 cent/bushel discount
Pricing Unit Cents per Bushel
Tick Size
(minimum fluctuation)
1/4 of one cent per bushel ($12.50 per contract)
Contract Months/Symbols January (F), March (H), May (K), July (N), August (Q), September (U) & November (X)
Trading Hours CME Globex (Electronic): Sun-Fri 7:00pm-7:45am CT
Mon-Fri 8:30am-1:15pm CT
Open Outcry (Trading Floor): Mon-Fri 8:30am-1:15pm CT
Daily Price Limit $0.70 per bushel expandable to $1.05 and then to $1.60 when the market closes at limit bid or limit offer. There shall be no price limits on the current month contract on or after the second business day preceding the first day of the delivery month.
Settlement Procedure Physical Delivery
Last Trade Date The business day prior to the 15th calendar day of the contract month.
Last Delivery Date Second business day following the last trading day of the delivery month.
Product Ticker Symbol CME Globex (Electronic): ZS (S=Clearing)
Open Outcry (Trading Floor): S
Exchange Rules These contracts are listed with, and subject to, the rules and regulations of CBOT.
Source: CME Group

Soybean Facts

Soybeans are of one of the most active and popular markets to trade, and dominant oilseed in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. is the leading producer and exporter of soybeans, mainly exporting to China, EU, Japan, Mexico and Taiwan. Soybeans account for 90% of all oilseed production in the U.S. accounting for 44% of the world’s Soybean export in 2010 and 35% of the world’s Soybean production in 2010.

After corn, soybeans are the most planted crop with over 77.5 million acres planted every year, 80% of which are grown in the Upper Midwest. Soybeans are typically grown in a crop rotation with corn. Soybean planting season takes place in late Spring and then are harvested in early Autumn. They were also among the first crops to be bioengineered and receive commercial success, especially since most are resistant to herbicides. Soybeans make up the largest portion of biotech crops grown in the U.S.

Soybeans have two main byproducts — soybean meal and soybean oil. Soybean meal is a flour made by grinding the solid residue of soybean oil production and is primarily used for animal feed due to its high protein content. Soybean oil is a “vegetable oil” that is extracted by crushing soybeans. It is mainly used as cooking but is also used in an extensive list of food products. Soybean oil has also grown in popularity due to the introduction of Biodiesel.

Last updated May 2013

Additional Info

Soybean News Articles

  • Soybeans, corn fall amid record U.S. harvest (11/4/2014) - Soybeans and corn both experienced losses on Tuesday as new reports indicate that this year's harvest in the United States is gathering strength, potentially becoming the largest harvest ever.
  • Soybeans poised for a big monthly gain (10/31/2014) - Soybean prices rose again and are well on their way to posting their longest run of weekly gains in over a year, and their largest monthly gain since 2012.
  • Soybeans soar on rising livestock feed demand (10/28/2014) - Soybean prices rose to their two-month high as demand for soymeal, a popular choice for livestock feed, increases.
  • Soybeans rise amid U.S., Brazilian harvest concerns (10/22/2014) - Soybeans reached their highest level in over a month as analysts grow more concerned with slowing crop harvests in the Midwest region of the U.S. and Brazil.
  • Corn and soybean prices rise on Monday (10/6/2014) - Corn and soybean prices rose after their steady decline last week. 
  • Corn, soybeans continue to drop (10/2/2014) - Soybeans and corn declined again amid projections of a record crop harvest.
  • Soybean futures drop to four-year lows (9/12/2014) - U.S. soybean prices hit their lowest levels in over four years following expectations by the federal forecasters for record breaking harvests exceeding forecasts by analysts.
  • Soybeans fall while crop outlook improves (9/3/2014) - Soybeans traded lower on Wednesday after a U.S. government report showed the conditions of the crop have continued to improve.
  • Rain helps soybeans rebound from earlier loss (8/15/2014) - Soybeans rose in Chicago on Thursday, rebounding from an earlier loss amid concerns raised by cooler temperatures in the U.S. Midwest that crops could be effected by potential frost damage before next month when the harvest begins. 
  • Soybean prices expected to drop (8/5/2014) - Oil World has said that soybean prices may significantly drop through the end of the year, as an abundant supply throughout the top three producing countries has begun to exceed demands. 

Soybean Blog Posts

  • Pre-Dawn Targeting (1-8) (1/8/2015) - We have a lot to discuss this morning because this Pre-Dawn will cover the balance of the week and most likely Monday. So let's get right to it...
  • 6/6 Pre-Dawn Update (6/6/2014) - Good Morning— Happy Friday. I hope everyone had a great week, lets finish it up on a high note and get involved in the weekend. We have a few positions on and there are a few that I want to bring to your attention. So lets get crackin’… In the Indices and Financials: With yesterday’s... Read More.
  • Turner’s Take – Corn, Soybean & Crude Oil (2/20/2014) - March corn is now trading above $4.50 and has stopped us out of our short position from $4.25. While I remain bearish on corn prices for 2013/14 and 2014/15, you can’t deny these low US corn prices have spurned demand from exports, ethanol and animal feed.
  • This Week in Grain – 2/10-2/14 (WASDE Wrap!) (2/12/2014) - The USDA released their February WASDE report this morning (February 10). The February report is not normally a big market mover and the report followed suit as there were a few surprises, but not enough to get the corn, soybeans or wheat markets above resistance levels or below support levels…yet.
  • WASDE Recap (12/11/2013) - The grain data came fast and furious all day! It started with Brazil forecasting their production this morning, followed by the USDA giving us their take on everything but old crop supplies (those will come in the JAN report). While the results of today’s report may have not inspired much volatility at 11 am, I did notice a few things that may become trends over what is left of 2013 and the start of 2014.
  • Welcome to WASDE Week (11/5/2013) - I feel excited to say for the first time in 9 weeks, WELCOME TO WASDE WEEK! The last time we heard from the USDA regarding WASDE data, it was September 12th. Since that day, we have seen prices move dramatically in grains and oilseed markets.
  • The Bullish Spiral of the Soy Complex (6/20/2013) - There is not enough soymeal in the United States to meet demand. To help meet demand, crushers were planning on turning beans into meal using cheaper South American imports, as there is a lot of product available and the crush margins would be well in the green to support their efforts. But, because of the Brazilian port situation, the beans are not coming as quickly as the crushers wanted. The cheap product they could turn into expensive meal is apparently not in the cards.
  • Market Spotlight: Soybean Oil (3/14/2013) - Soybean Oil is the natural oil extracted from whole Soybeans. Typically, about 19% of a Soybean’s weight can be extracted as crude Soybean Oil. The oil content of U.S. Soybeans correlates directly with the temperatures and amount of sunshine during the Soybean pod-filling stages.
  • Beyond the “Spotlight” (3/11/2013) - The Trade Spotlight advisory service applies the GBE trading methodology (buying or selling commodity contracts based on breakouts of chart formations and technical indicators) to identify one to two trade setups per week.
  • Beyond the “Spotlight” (3/4/2013) - The Trade Spotlight advisory service applies the GBE trading methodology (buying or selling commodity contracts based on breakouts of chart formations and technical indicators) to identify one to two trade setups per week.