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Early planted beans made high state yields
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi should produce its highest average soybean yield ever on a crop that was planted earlier than had ever been done before.
"This is the best crop per acre average on record," said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "Early planting got the crop off to a good start, we had a near-perfect growing season and we avoided late-season dry weather."
While there were areas of extremes with as few as 20 bushels harvested per acre, other producers "made yields they've only dreamed of," Blaine said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting a 39-bushel average yield for the state. Blaine, however, is predicting the final figures to be more like 40 or 41 bushels per acre on average. The state's average per-acre yield is about 30 bushels.
"I don't think people have a real handle on what the early planting and early maturing varieties have meant to the South," Blaine said.
By May 14, 83 percent of Mississippi's crop was in the ground. Harvest began about Aug. 10, and by the end of October, about 98 percent had been harvested. This was done on more than 1.65 million acres, 200,000 more than were planted last year.
Blaine said there were problems with numerous diseases, some sporadic problems with stinkbugs and basically no problems from Hurricane Ivan, making the growing season nearly perfect except for heavy rain in mid-June. Because of this, Mississippi is experiencing high production, as are the rest of the soybean-growing states.
John Anderson, Extension agricultural economist, said the increased supply of soybeans has driven down the price some.
"The world supply was down last year and in March, soybean futures were trading over $9.50 a bushel," Anderson said. "Prices have been trending down since April."
While not at record levels, soybean producers can do better than break even with prices in the $5.15 to $5.30 range. Also, many producers took advantage of higher prices this spring to forward price at least part of their expected production.
"Last year was unusual because we had both good production and high prices. This year is a more normal year with good production and lower prices," Anderson said.