A potentially record-setting production year made soybeans a billion dollar crop and Mississippi’s third-largest agricultural commodity in 2014.
Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said soybeans are expected to yield a record average of 52 bushels an acre.
MSU experts estimate Mississippi’s soybean crop has a 2014 value of $1.17 billion. That figure is down slightly from the 2013 value and the record value of $1.27 billion set in 2012. Poultry remains the state’s most valuable agricultural commodity, followed by forestry.
“The value of production has declined because of lower market prices for soybeans, but our producers have realized even higher yield during this same period,” Irby said.
Brian Williams, Extension agricultural economist, said much of the price drop in the fall was supply driven because of the record soybean harvest.
“Over the last couple years, soybean stocks have been extremely tight. That is no longer the case with ending stocks for the most recent crop year being more than quadruple those of a year ago,” Williams said.
In 2012, Mississippi broke its state-average yield record. Yields dipped slightly in 2013, but the state set a new record in 2014.
“While some of that can be attributed to favorable growing conditions, much could also be said about better varieties and improved management practices,” Williams said.
In recent years, soybean prices have been competitive with other crop prices. Improved practices and varieties have made producers better at growing the crop. Corn, soybeans and wheat all saw sharp drops in early October around harvest, but these prices have since rebounded some.
“The bounce back in prices this fall was primarily due to a slower than normal harvest but was also driven by strong export demand,” Williams said.
Although growers harvested a record crop, they had to overcome some significant challenges along the way.
“With the wet spring weather, more acres than normal required replanting,” Irby said. “Also, it was difficult to make timely herbicide applications because of the frequent rains, but our producers overcame these and other challenges and still had a great crop overall.”
Growers harvested an estimated 2.19 million acres of soybeans in 2014, and Irby said indications are that growers may plant even more soybean acres than that in 2015.
— Bonnie Coblentz, MSU Ag Communications
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