• USDA Sees Record Demand For Soybean Oil As Biodiesel Feedstock

    February 07, 2018 7:13 PM

    In late October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decided not to move forward with reducing the biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel requirements after the organization received backlash from corn-state lawmakers who expressed concerns that the moves would undercut ethanol demand. 1 In the USDA’s December supply demand update (WASDE), demand for soybean oil during the current marketing year as biodiesel feedstock was raised from 7 billion pounds to 7.5 billion pounds, a record amount. 2

    The WASDE also showed reduced domestic usage of soybean oil of 300 million pounds, so the net increase in forecast usage is only 200 million pounds. This did not affect future prices subsequent to the report. The USDA’s forecast cash price for soybean oil during the marketing year is an unchanged 34.5c/lb., which is a 2c/lb. increase from 2016’s average price. There were no significant changes to the soybean and soybean meal supply and demand projections in this report.

    Expect the soybean oil price to display a soft tendency in the near term and to follow petroleum prices, longer term.


    1. Jarrett Renshaw. “EPA Abandons Changes to U.S. Biofuel Program after Lawmaker Pressure.” Reuters. October 20, 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biofuels/epa-abandons-changes-to-u-s-biofuel-program-after-lawmaker-pressure-idUSKBN1CP1IL
    2. “World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates.” https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.pdf United States Department of Agriculture. December 12, 2017.

  • Stakeholders React to EPA Biodiesel Program

    January 19, 2018 6:13 PM

    The October 2017 update focused on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) notification of reducing the biomass-based diesel and on the advanced biofuel volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, after numerous farm belt legislators were critical of this decision by EPA, the agency backed off those plans.1 In addition, the Commerce Department set higher-than-expected anti-dumping penalties against imported Argentine biodiesel.2

    On November 9, 2017, the USDA issued its latest crop production estimates. Soybean production was hardly affected. It changed to a new record of 4,425 million bushels.3 The monthly USDA “World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates” maintained a large projection for soybean oil usage as biodiesel feedstock this year (7 billion pounds); consequently, soybean oil stocks did not approach burdensome levels.4 Prices are forecast to be about two cents per pound higher compared to last year.


    1. Jarrett Renshaw. “EPA Abandons Changes to U.S. Biofuel Program after Lawmaker Pressure.” Reuters. October 20, 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biofuels/epa-abandons-changes-to-u-s-biofuel-program-after-lawmaker-pressure-idUSKBN1CP1IL  
    2. Eric Walsh. “U.S. Sets Antidumping Duties on Argentine, Indonesian Biodiesel.” Reuters. October 23, 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biodiesel/u-s-sets-antidumping-duties-on-argentine-indonesian-biodiesel-idUSKBN1CS2TT
    3. “Crop Production.”  https://www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS/TODAYRPT/crop0917.pdf United States Department of Agriculture. September 12, 2017.
    4. “World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates. https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.pdf United States Department of Agriculture. September 9, 2017.


  • EPA Biodiesel Program Complicates The Soybean Oil Demand Picture

    November 06, 2017 11:12 PM

    If implemented, a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard will negatively impact the volume of soybean oil needed to produce biodiesel, somewhat offsetting the U.S. Commerce Department’s duties on Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel imports imposed in August.

    On October 4, 2017, the EPA issued a Notice of Availability of Supplemental Information to provide public notice and an opportunity to comment on potential reductions in biomass-based diesel and overall advanced biofuel categories in the Renewable Fuel Standard program.1

    There are two potential reductions in the standard. The first is a reduction in biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel volumes from 2.1 billion gallons—the same volume previously set by the Obama administration for the 2018 compliance year. The second aims to reduce advanced biofuel volumes for 2018 to 4.24 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons, down from 4.28 billion gallons this year.2

    In the August 2017 USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased soybean oil usage for biodiesel production in the current marketing year by almost 10 percent  (7 billion pounds) as a result of the Commerce Department action. In its October 12, 2017 WASDE, the USDA made no change in its forecast of biodiesel usage, which seems to lack credibility. 3

    Consequently, the USDA made no changes in its soybean oil price forecasts for this year from last month’s report.

    Watch for the final action by the EPA regarding reductions in biomass-based diesel and overall advanced biofuel categories in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

    1. “Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019; Availability of Supplemental Information and Request for Further Comment.” https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/renewable-fuel-standard-program-standards-2018-and-biomass-based United States Environmental Protection Agency. October 4, 2017.
    2. “EPA Blindsides Biodiesel Industry with ‘Outrageous’ Proposed Cuts.” Biodiesel. September 26, 2017. http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/articles/2516150/epa-blindsides-biodiesel-industry-with-outrageous-proposed-cut
    3. “World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates.” http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/waob/wasde//2010s/2017/wasde-10-12-2017.pdf United States Department of Agriculture. October 12, 2017.

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Richard GallowayAbout the Expert

Richard Galloway is president of Galloway and Associates, LLC, a business consulting firm serving domestic and foreign agricultural processing, vegetable oil refining, biodiesel and grain handling industries. Galloway is a consultant to the QUALISOY Board, a collaborative effort among the soybean industry to help market the development and availability of trait-enhanced soybean oils, including high oleic soybean oil. Read More...