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Soybean Yields Continue to Surprise

Soybean Yields Continue to Surprise
Not all yields are bin-busters, but still better than anticipated.

A soybean yield of 48 bushels per acre is slightly above the state average. If you're on good ground it might be disappointing in most years, but not necessarily this year. After the dry August and early September, most people feared that soybean yields might be in the tank.

Instead, they may be off 10%, perhaps more in some places, less in others. Places that received adequate rain or where irrigation was available are reporting good crops. One farmer with irrigation says that even including dry corners on two fields of 200 acres or more each, soybeans averaged over 60 bushels per acre. He also noted that the bean size was very large.

Loads of beans: More soybeans than expected are rolling out of many soybean fields.

Another irrigator noticed the same trend toward big bean size. Where soybeans weren't irrigated, most people are reporting normal soybean size. Some were expecting B-B sized-beans, but for the most part, that hasn't been the case.

Instead, some elevators are reportedly filling up with soybeans. Others are filling up with corn. The other fact about the soybean crop is that while it looked like harvest would be very late at one point in the season, the shift to drier, warmer weather in early August hastened crop development. Fields are being harvested or are ready to harvest statewide, regardless of planting date, except for doublecrop soybeans, which are still maturing in some cases.

The question some are asking is what soybean yields would have been like if they had received normal rainfall. One irrigator on sandy soil who irrigated often in August may have the answer. His irrigated beans, not counting dry areas, pushed 80 bushels per acre, even with some shorter beans on the very sandiest of his soils. Many believe yields in the 70 bushel per acre range would have been common if the wetter trend had continued.

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