Ankeny - Iowa farmers will harvest an estimated 405.5 million bushels of soybeans, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop production report. The average yield is estimated to be 43 bushels per acre.
Recent stifling heat and the lack of rain during the critical pod development and fill period reduced overall production and yields by 6.5 percent compared to Aug. 1 estimates. Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Brian Kemp is hopeful the numbers will increase by the time combines start to roll in a few weeks.
"If we get a rain or two, it could add bushels," said Kemp, who farms near Sibley. "The late-planted crop is really green yet in parts of Iowa so the concern is the frost date. In the final analysis, that will be the largest determining factor as far as yields go."
Iowa's soybean acreage is estimated at 9.43 million acres, up 1.43 million acres from a year ago. Last year, the state's soybean farmers harvested 413.85 million bushels.
While the USDA's report offers a snapshot of current conditions, it may take a few more weeks to truly see the whole picture of this year's stressed crop.
Soybean production nationwide is forecast at 3.15 billion bushels, down 3 percent from August but up 4 percent from last year. If realized, this year's soybean crop will be the fourth largest on record. Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, national yields are expected to average 41.2 bushels per acre; down 1.4 bushels from last month, but up 1.6 bushels from last year.
According to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report issued today, soybean exports for the 2013/14 marketing year were reduced 15 million bushels to 1.37 billion bushels reflecting reduced supplies and increased competition from South America. Soybean crush is reduced 20 million bushels. Soybean ending stocks are projected at 150 million bushels, down 70 million.
Grant Kimberley, ISA director of market development and central Iowa farmer, questions the report's soybean export reduction. Iowa farmers continue to be leading suppliers of commodities on the global market. ISA Past President Mark Jackson of Rose Hill took part in a signing ceremony at the statehouse today, commemorating Taiwan's intent to purchase up to $6 billion in U.S. grains in the next two years. Taiwan is the sixth largest market for Iowa soybean and corn exports.
"It is interesting and questionable to see demand reduced in this report when all indications are that demand should continue to grow at a brisk clip, both domestically and internationally, especially in Asia and particularly in China," said Kimberley. "It makes one wonder if the USDA is anticipating further yield reductions in future reports and beginning the adjustment process early to compensate for potentially lower yields."
The U.S. season-average soybean price is projected at $11.50 to $13.50 per bushel, up $1.15 on both ends of the range, according to the WASDE report.
"Even though the carryover is tight, there will be adequate supplies of soybeans available for domestic and overseas buyers," Kemp said. "I anticipate strong soybean prices."
To learn more about ISA, go to www.iasoybeans.com.