Barchart Symbol ZM
Exchange Symbol ZM
Contract Soybean Meal
Exchange CBOT
Tick Size 10 cents per ton ($10.00 per contract)
Margin/Maintenance $3,630/3,300
Daily Limit $30 per ton ($3,000 per contract) Expanded limit $45
Contract Size 100 tons (2,000 pounds per ton)
Months Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Dec (F, H, K, N, Q, U, V, Z)
Trading Hours 7:00p.m. - 7:45a.m. and 8:30a.m. - 1:20p.m. (Settles 1:15p.m.) (Sun-Fri) CST
Value of One Futures Unit $100
Value of One Options Unit $100
Last Trading Day The business day prior to the 15th calendar day of the contract month


Soybean meal is produced through processing and separating soybeans into oil and meal components. If the soybeans are of particularly good quality, then the processor can get more meal weight by including more hulls in the meal while still meeting a 48% protein minimum. Soybean meal can be further processed into soy flour and isolated soy protein, but the bulk of soybean meal is used as animal feed for poultry, hogs, and cattle. Soybean meal accounts for about two-thirds of the worlds high-protein animal feed, followed by cottonseed and rapeseed meal, which together account for less than 20%. Soybean meal consumption has been moving to record highs in recent years. The soybean meal marketing year begins in October and ends in September. Soybean meal futures and options are traded at the CME Group. The CME soybean meal futures contract calls for the delivery of 100 tons of soybean meal produced by conditioning ground soybeans and reducing the oil content of the conditioned product and having a minimum of 48.0% protein, minimum of 0.5% fat, maximum of 3.5% fiber, and maximum of 12.0% moisture.

Soybean crush - The term soybean crush refers to both to the physical processing of soybeans and to the dollar-value premium received for processing soybeans into their component products of meal and oil. The conventional model says that processing 60 pounds (one bushel) of soybeans produces 11 pounds of soybean oil, 44 pounds of 48% protein soybean meal, 3 pounds of hulls, and 1 pound of waste. The Gross Processing Margin (GPM) or crush equals (0.22 times Soybean Meal Prices in dollars per ton) + (11 times Soybean Oil prices in cents/pound) - Soybean prices in $/bushel. A higher crush value will occur when the price of the meal and oil products are strong relative to soybeans, e.g., because of supply disruptions or because of an increase in demand for the products. When the crush value is high, companies will have a strong incentive to buy raw soybeans and boost the output of the products. That supply increase should eventually bring the crush value back into line with the long-term equilibrium.

Prices - CME soybean meal futures prices ( electronic symbol ZM) opened the year 2019 at about $306.2 per short ton, moved higher into midyear to post a 1-year high but then fell to finally close the year down -2.1% at $299. 9 per short ton.

Supply - World soybean meal production in 2019/20 is expected to rise +1.9% yr/yr to a new record high of 238.599 million metric tons. The worlds largest soybean meal producers are expected to be China with 28.2% of world production in 2019/20, the U.S. with 18.8%, Argentina with 14.4%, and Brazil with 14.2%.

U.S. production of soybean meal in 2019/20 is expected to rise +1.4% yr/yr to 49.498 million short tons, just below last years new record high. U.S. soybean meal ending stocks in 2019/20 are expected to fall -0.5% yr/yr to 450,000 short tons.

Demand - World consumption of soybean meal in 2019/20 is expected to rise +2.1% yr/yr to 235.814 million metric tons, a new record high. China is expected to account for 28.2% of that consumption, the U.S. for 14.2%, and the European Union for 13.2%. U.S. consumption of soybean meal in 2018/19 is expected to rise +3.2% yr/yr to 33.385 million metric tons, a new record high.

Trade - World exports of soybean meal in 2019/20 is expected to rise +0.4% to 67.804 million metric tons. Argentina is expected to account for 45.5% of total world exports, Brazil for 22.7%, and the U.S. for 17.7%. World imports of soybean meal in 2019/20 are expected to rise +2.1% yr/yr to 66.637 million metric tons, a record high. U.S. exports of soybean meal in 2019/20 are expected to fall -2.6% yr/yr to 13.200 million short tons. U.S. imports of soybean meal in 2019/20 are expected to fall -26.9% yr/yr to 500,000 short tons.

Information on commodities is courtesy of the CRB Yearbook, the single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope for commodities information is second to none. The CRB Yearbook is part of the cmdty product line. Please visit cmdty for all of your commodity data needs.

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