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State's soybean crop too good?

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Having about half of the Mississippi soybean crop planted by late April is allowing producers to breathe a little easier when they look back on the disastrous year they had in 2009.

Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, urged producers not to make decisions for this year based on the anomalies of last year.

“We probably couldn’t be more opposite from last year to right now,” Koger said. “There was nothing normal about last year, and some producers are questioning whether they should plant later or use different varieties.”

A dry April allowed many acres of soybeans to be planted early. It also gave producers time to do the work left undone last fall when rains kept machinery off the fields.

Koger said he expects Mississippi producers to plant fewer than the 2.15 million soybean acres they planted in 2009. That decrease is a good thing, he said.

“We don’t need that many acres of soybeans. We need 1.5 million to 1.7 million,” Koger said. “We’re very fortunate in Mississippi that we can grow a number of crops, but we need to keep some diversity and follow a good crop rotation system. We were a little too heavy in soybeans when we were over two million acres.”

John Michael Riley, Extension agricultural economist, said soybean prices are about $1 per bushel higher than this time last year and about $1.60 per bushel above the five-year average.

Increasing exports will be good for prices, but a strengthening U.S. dollar will slow exports. Planting weather has been ideal, and if it remains good through the growing season, that could pressure prices, as well.

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