The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 15, 2013

Soybean yield not reaching expectations in southeast Iowa

OTTUMWA — The United States Department of Agriculture recently upped its soybean output estimate for Iowa’s soybean yield, but southeast Iowa has not seen the type of yields some were expecting.

According to Mark Carlton, crops specialist for the Iowa State University Extension in southeast Iowa, the yields have been lower than expected so far this year, based off of what he has been told by farmers in the area.

“Overall, the soybean yields have been a little disappointing,” he said. “They were not what we hoped they would be.”

The main reason for the low yields was the later planting date farmers had to use because of the weather in the spring and summer. The mass amounts of rain in the spring followed by the drought that left Iowa fields gasping for water created poorer soil in southeast Iowa and forced farmers to plant later in the year than they would have liked.

Based on how late the soybeans were planted, Carlton does think the yields are doing OK, but they are still lower than expected. It is those beans that were planted later that are having trouble meeting the high yields. The soybeans that were planted late are down two or more bushels per acre compared to those that were planted earlier, Carlton said.

However, in the fields where the soil is a little better, he is seeing their yields creep close to 50 bushels per acre, which is a good number considering the average for the state stands at 45 bushels per acre, according to the USDA crop production report.

He made mention to the soil in the northern portion in the state being a little better than in southeast Iowa, and that could be where the higher yields are coming from.

According to the USDA’s report, Iowa farmers will harvest approximately 415.4 million bushels of soybeans once harvesting is completed, which would be slightly higher than the 2012 production. The report also says the anticipated average price nationwide for soybeans is down 35 cents, and projections place the cost at an average price of $11.15 to $13.15 per bushel.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

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