Pro Farmer Editors
2008 Summary: Soybeans
Soybeans: Production in 2008 totaled 2.96 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the November forecast and up 11 percent from 2007. U.S. production is the fourth largest on record. The average yield per acre is estimated at 39.6 bushels, 0.3 bushel above the November forecast but 2.1 bushels below last year=s yield. Planted area for the Nation, at a record 75.7 million acres, is up 17 percent from 2007. Soybean growers harvested a record 74.6 million acres, up 16 percent from last year and up slightly from November. Yields are down from last year across most of the Great Plains and the northern Corn Belt, as well as in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The biggest declines from last year occurred in Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas, as yields in all three States were down 10 bushels or more from 2007.
Yields were down in Louisiana and parts of Texas due to the torrential rains and flooding caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. In Ohio, yields were lower due to the combination of wet weather early in the year and very dry weather for the remainder of the growing season. Yields are much higher than last year in Tennessee, Kentucky, and across most of the Southeast, as timely rains fell during the season which was a significant improvement from last year when drought conditions affected much of the region. Record high yields were set in Florida and South Carolina, and the record high yield was tied in New York. The 2008 soybean objective yield survey data indicate that final average pod counts were lower than last year in eight of the eleven objective yield States. Compared with last year, pod counts were down more than 10 percent in Nebraska and down more than 15 percent in Ohio. The only States that showed an increase in pod counts from last year were Arkansas, Indiana, and Kansas. Planting of the 2008 soybean crop began slowly as wet, cool weather during April across most of the major growing areas delayed progress. The month of May began with all States, except Louisiana and Nebraska, behind last year's pace; and with the exception of Louisiana, all States were at or behind their 5-year average.
Planting progress continued to be hampered in early May as heavy spring rains fell across much of the Great Plains and Corn Belt, and below normal temperatures were felt from the southern Plains into the eastern Corn Belt and the Mid-Atlantic States. As of May 18, only 27 percent of the soybean acreage was planted, 25 points behind last year and 20 points behind the 5-year average. Progress was 40 points or more behind last year's pace in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio. Planting progressed well through the rest of the month as fields began to dry, advancing to 69 percent complete by June 1, but remaining 12 points behind the 5-year average. In turn, the crop began emerging well behind normal, as only 32 percent of the crop had emerged by June 1, twenty-three points behind the 5-year average. In early June, planting was delayed further by flooding rains in parts of the Corn Belt, but beneficial conditions during the remainder of the month allowed planting to reach 95 percent complete by June 29.
Emergence of the crop continued to progress behind normal throughout the month, and as of June 29, was 6 points behind the 5-year average. Emergence was the farthest behind in Missouri, where only 61 percent of the crop had emerged by the end of June, 32 points behind the 5-year average. In general, the U.S. crop developed well during July, but blooming and pod setting remained behind the normal pace due to the late start. By August 3, seventy-eight percent of the Nation's crop was blooming, 12 points behind last year and 10 points behind normal. Thirty-seven percent of the acreage was setting pods by August 3, compared the 5-year average of 58 percent. The percentage of the crop setting pods was behind normal in all States except Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The crop developed rapidly during August and progress had nearly returned to normal by the end of the month. As of August 31, ninety-four percent of the U.S. crop was at or beyond the pod-setting stage, behind last year and the 5-year average by only 4 and 3 points, respectively. The only State where pod-setting was not within 4 points of the normal pace was Missouri, where only 69 percent of the soybeans were at or beyond the pod-setting stage, 25 points behind normal.
As of August 31, fifty-seven percent of the U.S. soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition, a decrease of 6 points from the rating of 63 percent on August 3. Crop conditions declined or remained unchanged during August across the Corn Belt and Great Plains, with the exception of Kansas. Decreases of more than 10 points in percent rated good to excellent occurred in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin as abnormally dry conditions prevailed in those areas. Nationally, the soybean crop continued to mature later than normal during September as plants dropped leaves at a pace that was behind normal in all major soybean-producing States except Louisiana, Michigan, and North Dakota. As of September 28, sixty-eight percent of the acreage was dropping leaves or beyond, 13 points behind the 5-year average.
The percent of acreage dropping leaves was more than 20 points behind the 5-year average in Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri. As of September 28, fifty-seven percent of the U.S. soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition, unchanged from both the end of August and the same week in 2007. With the exception of Illinois, Kansas, and Nebraska, crop conditions declined or remained unchanged during September across the Corn Belt and Great Plains. The biggest decline in percent rated good to excellent occurred in Louisiana, down 20 points from the previous month due to the excessive wind and rain from Hurricane Gustav at the beginning of September. Harvesting began later than normal as only 9 percent of the U.S. crop was harvested by September 28, compared with the 5-year average of 21 percent. Harvest progress was behind normal in all major soybean-producing States except Ohio, which was 1 point ahead of normal.
During October, there were some minor harvest delays due to periods of rain. However, in general, harvest progressed well during October, and by the end of the month was within a few percentage points of normal. As of November 2, growers had harvested 86 percent of their acreage, compared with 90 percent last year and the 5-year average of 89 percent. Harvest progress lagged behind normal in the majority of States, but was at or ahead of normal in the Great Lakes States, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio Valley. By November 16, conditions had allowed harvest to progress to 95 percent complete, 2 points behind last year and 1 point behind the 5-year average.
Here's a link to the full report.