Farmers will plant up to 2.5 million more acres this year
The corn crop on Bill Gordon’s southwest Minnesota farm got clobbered this past summer after no discernible rain fell for a three-month stretch. Soybeans struggled as well, though they rallied after a 1.5" soaking in late August. In fact, Gordon combined an average of 50 bu. of soybeans per acre at harvest—only 5 bu. off the high end of what he considers a normal yield.
"We were more than a little surprised by that," he says. "I looked at Dad and said there’s no way the yield monitor’s right, but it was."
The ability of soybeans to seize even a small amount of moisture late in the season and produce a crop is the main reason the Worthington, Minn., farmer will stay with a 50/50 corn-soybean rotation, especially as weather experts say 2013 might consist of another drought.
"We’ve tried other rotations, including corn-on-corn, but found we were taking a pretty big hit in second-year corn," says Gordon, who serves on the board of directors for the American Soybean Association.
"It takes more management and a lot more fertilizer to get those corn yields up," he adds. "We found over a four-year average that our gross-per-acre didn’t improve with corn-on-corn, and that it’s better for us to try and increase our soybean yields."
Darren Hefty is telling farmers soybeans could be their high-dollar crop this year.
"With the chance to market beans at around $15 per bushel, and many growers seeing upward of 60 bu. yields, there’s some excellent potential," says Hefty, who co-owns Hefty Seed Company in Baltic, S.D.
Dustin Johnson, a broker with EHedger, expects soybeans will gain acres, along with corn, at the expense of wheat and, in some regions, cotton.
"We see soybean acres at 79.5 million (acres)," Johnson reports.
That is 2.5 million acres more than the 77 million acres that USDA estimates farmers planted in 2012.
Johnson points to new crop prices and subsoil moisture as the biggest factors influencing these numbers.
"With what we know today, we see total corn and soybean acres up 4 million combined," he says.
- March 2013