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Soybean Futures

Free $25 Grain & Soybean Trading Kit

History of Soybeans

Soybeans originated and were first cultivated in China. Asians have been growing soybeans, eating foods made from soybeans and using it for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. In 2853 BC, By the first century AD, soybeans were grown in Japan and China

When soybeans arrived in America in the early 1800's – as a heavy material used to stabilize a clipper ship, they were regarded as a curiosity. It wasn't until 1879 that a few valiant farmers began to plant them as forage for their livestock. The plants flourished in the hot, humid summer weather characteristic of the North Carolina. By the turn of the century, the United States Department of Agriculture was conducting tests on soybeans and encouraging farmers to cultivate them as animal feed.

It wasn't until the 1940's that soybean farming really took off in the United States. Soybean fields in China, the major supplier of the world at that time, were destroyed by World War II. The U.S. farmers in turn, produced the needed soybeans.

American livestock - chickens, cattle, turkey, and pigs - consume about 25 million tons of soybean meal each year. No other high protein animal feed comes close. This boom in the use of soybean meal for livestock feed began in the 1950's and has not slowed down since.

Currently, 31 states in the United States grow soybeans. The top three cultivators are Iowa producing 408 million bushels, Illinois producing 478 million bushels and Indiana producing 274 million bushels in 1998. The state of North Carolina ranks 15th, producing fourty-three million bushels.

  • Soybeans - Contract Size:
    5,000 bu
  • Soybeans - Deliverable Grades:
    No. 2 Yellow at par, No. 1 yellow at 6 cents per bushel over contract price and No. 3 yellow at 6 cents per bushel under contract price*
  • *No. 3 Yellow Soybeans are only deliverable when all factors equal U.S. No. 2 or better except foreign material.
  • Tick Size:
    1/4 cent/bu ($12.50/contract)
  • Price Quote:
    Cents and quarter-cents/bu
  • Soybean Contract Months:
    Sep, Nov, Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Aug
  • Last Trading Day:
    The business day prior to the 15th calendar day of the contract month.
  • Last Delivery Day:
    Second business day following the last trading day of the delivery month.
  • Soybean Trading Hours:
    Open Auction: 9:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Chicago time, Mon-Fri.
    Electronic: 7:31 p.m. - 6:00 a.m. Chicago time, Sun.-Fri. Trading in expiring contracts closes at noon on the last trading day.
  • Ticker Symbols:
    Open Auction: S
    Electronic: ZS
  • Soybean Daily Price Limit:
    50 cents/bu ($2,500/contract) above or below the previous day's settlement price. No limit in the spot month (limits are lifted two business days before the spot month begins).