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Iowa soybean farmers look for rain, heat to boost yields

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 10:47 a.m. CST

ANKENY Iowa farmers will harvest an estimated 9.43 million acres of soybeans, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Production Report. The vast majority of soybean acres were planted weeks late due to a record wet spring. Crop development lags behind schedule and tens of thousands of corn and soybean acres weren’t even planted in central and northern Iowa.

Soybean production statewide is estimated at nearly 434 million bushels this year, up nearly 20 million bushels from last year, government data indicates. Yields statewide are expected to increase by 1.5 bushels per acre over last year to 46 bushels per acre, but lower than 2011 and 2010 when the average was 51 bushels per acre.

“The yield prediction isn’t a surprise since we’ve had very little rain this summer and those showers have been spotty. Beans are made in August, and we need more rain and heat units,” said Grant Kimberley, ISA director of market development who farms with his father in central Iowa.

The nation’s soybean crop will be smaller than expected, but still be one of the largest on record. Soybean production nationwide is forecast at 3.26 billion bushels, down about 165 million from spring estimates due to weather problems, according to the USDA report. Nationally, soybean farmers will harvest an estimated 76.4 million acres.

This year’s soybean harvest is predicted to be 8 percent larger than last year’s drought-stricken crop and the third largest on record.

According to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, season-average soybean prices for the 2013/14 marketing year are forecast from $10.35 to $12.35 per bushel, up 60 cents on both ends.