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Iowa soybean farmers continue to lead nation

Strong yields should bolster consumer confidence, demand

ANKENY — Despite weathering one of the driest growing seasons on record, Iowa soybean farmers continue to lead the nation in soybean production. 

Today’s U. S. Department of Agriculture’s crop production report offered final numbers for the 2012 crop. Iowa soybean farmers led the nation with an estimated 413.8 million bushels produced last year. Per-acre soybean production in Iowa for 2012 totaled 44.5 bushels, down from last year’s total of 51.5 bushels, but still strengthening from November’s call for 44 bushels per acre. 

“These yields truly are a testament to Iowa soybean farmers,” said Mark Jackson, Iowa Soybean Association president, in response to the report. “After going through this year’s dry weather, our yields were down less than 5 percent from a normal year and that should bode well for our customers’ confidence. It shows our farmers can continue to meet their needs, no matter what Mother Nature brings our way.”  

According to the USDA World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates report, also released today, U.S. soybean production in 2012 totaled 3.01 billion bushels, making it the seventh largest soybean crop on record. National average yields were estimated at 39.6 bushels per acre. 

The projected range for the 2012/2013 season-average soybean prices was lowered 30 cents at the midpoint and narrowed to $13.50 to $15 per bushel. 

U.S. corn production was estimated at 10.8 billion bushels, 13 percent below 2011. The average U.S. yield in was estimated at 123.4 bushels per acre. The WASDE projected corn ending stocks at 602 million bushels, while the season-average farm price for corn is unchanged at $6.80 to $8 per bushel.          

“Livestock farmers are still feeling the pinch of higher prices for their feed and I definitely can attest to that, but we’re definitely working smarter,” said Jackson, who farms near Rose Hill and raises soybean and corn and also custom feeds hogs. “With so much market volatility and competition from places raising soybeans such as South America, farmers are definitely learning how to look at the whole system and make marketing a priority.” 

Demand for U.S. soybeans, soybean oil and soybean meal continues to be strong. The WASDE report estimated higher domestic soybean meal consumption and increased soybean meal exports. U.S. soybean export estimates remained at 1.345 billion bushels and 2012/13 soybean ending stocks were projected at 135 million bushels, up 5 million from last month.

“U.S. meat production is expected to increase in 2013 for pork, beef, broiler and turkey. That means strong demand for soybean meal domestically, and the cash basis should remain strong due to positive crush margins for processors with strong meal and oil demand,” said Grant Kimberley, ISA director of market development. “In addition, soybean oil demand should grow due to the reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit and a 280 million gallon increase to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2) up to 1.280 billion gallons. The tax credit could actually mean that biodiesel demand could go as high as 1.7 billion gallons.”

Kimberley added that international demand should remain strong in places like China for whole beans and soybean meal continues to garner strong global demand.

To learn more about ISA, visit its Web site at

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