US farmers plant record soybean crop, less corn

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) β€” The nation’s farmers planted the
largest soybean crop on record this year by devoting millions of acres
of land to the crop that had been used for growing corn, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture said Monday.
Farmers planted 84.8
million acres of soybeans, which was nearly 11 percent more than last
year’s 76.5 million acres. Among the states that planted record amounts
of the crop were Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Corn was planted on 91.6 million acres, which was nearly 4 percent less than last year’s 95.4 million
acres.
"Corn
might be king in the U.S., but soybeans are knocking on the palace
door," said Grant Kimberley, a corn and soybean farmer near Maxwell in
central Iowa and director of market development for the Iowa Soybean
Association. "The increase of soybeans has been dramatic the last couple
of years here and I think the increased protein demand worldwide has a
lot to do with that."
About a third of the U.S. soybean crop is
exported to China, where there’s a large demand for soybeans to feed
hogs, poultry, and dairy cows.
The change in planting was also due to a drop in corn prices and rise in soybean prices.
For
much of the last decade, farmers in the primary corn and soybean
growing states of the Midwest had greater profit potential with corn,
the strong market driven largely by increasing demand from the ethanol
industry. Corn prices surpassed $8 a bushel in August 2012, when a
drought that gripped much of the nation reduced the supply of corn amid
high demand.
As corn prices remained strong, farmers planted more
acres to take advantage of higher profit. Acres planted in corn climbed
and in some cases, farmers strayed from the common practice of rotating
fields from soybeans one year to corn the next. For a few seasons, some
planted corn followed by corn, which often decreases the per-acre yield
of the crop because it doesn’t allow the soil to recover. Corn needs an
abundance of nitrogen in the soil to flourish, and soybeans increase
nitrogen levels in soil. Insect problems including corn rootworms also
can increase when corn follows corn in a field, increasing chemical
costs.
"We did increase corn acres a lot and there has been some
switchback based on economics and guys are just getting tired of that
corn on corn. It’s a tough thing to handle," said Kevin Scott, who farms
2,500 acres in corn and soybeans near Valley Springs, S.D., about 15
miles east of Sioux Falls.
In South Dakota, farmers planted 4.8
percent fewer corn acres and 6 percent more soybean acres this year, the
USDA said. North Dakota corn acres fell 20 percent, while soybean acres
jumped 29 percent.
"Farmers are going to grow what’s most
valuable to them and corn and soybeans work a little bit better than
wheat in that area right now," Scott said.
In Nebraska, soybean acres are up 12 percent, while corn is down 6.5 percent.
Corn
prices declined throughout last year, to below $5 per bushel. They saw a
brief increase to above $5 in April but since then have fallen $1 and
remain around $4.20
Soybean prices, however, have mostly climbed since 2012, from around $13 to nearly $14 per bushel.
Many
farmers indicated this year that they would return to their
corn-soybean crop rotation to both replenish nitrogen in the soil and
take advantage of the increased profitability of soybeans.
Even with reduction in corn planting, it will still be the fifth-largest corn acreage planted since 1944,
the USDA said.
Many
corn and soybean growing states have seen a stormy spring and too much
rain has left some fields drenched and water pooling. That impact is yet
to be seen, but it could cut into the actual number of corn and soybean
acres harvested this fall.
The USDA reports that 76 percent of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition, compared with 63
percent last year.
Soybean
plants also are faring better than average with to 83 percent emerged
by June 15, with progress equal to or ahead of the normal pace in 14 of
the 18 major growing states, the USDA said.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) β€” The nation’s farmers planted the
largest soybean crop on record this year by devoting millions of acres
of land to the crop that had been used for growing corn, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture said Monday.
Farmers planted 84.8
million acres of soybeans, which was nearly 11 percent more than last
year’s 76.5 million acres. Among the states that planted record amounts
of the crop were Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Corn was planted on 91.6 million acres, which was nearly 4 percent less than last year’s 95.4 million
acres.
"Corn
might be king in the U.S., but soybeans are knocking on the palace
door," said Grant Kimberley, a corn and soybean farmer near Maxwell in
central Iowa and director of market development for the Iowa Soybean
Association. "The increase of soybeans has been dramatic the last couple
of years here and I think the increased protein demand worldwide has a
lot to do with that."
About a third of the U.S. soybean crop is
exported to China, where there’s a large demand for soybeans to feed
hogs, poultry, and dairy cows.
The change in planting was also due to a drop in corn prices and rise in soybean prices.
For
much of the last decade, farmers in the primary corn and soybean
growing states of the Midwest had greater profit potential with corn,
the strong market driven largely by increasing demand from the ethanol
industry. Corn prices surpassed $8 a bushel in August 2012, when a
drought that gripped much of the nation reduced the supply of corn amid
high demand.
As corn prices remained strong, farmers planted more
acres to take advantage of higher profit. Acres planted in corn climbed
and in some cases, farmers strayed from the common practice of rotating
fields from soybeans one year to corn the next. For a few seasons, some
planted corn followed by corn, which often decreases the per-acre yield
of the crop because it doesn’t allow the soil to recover. Corn needs an
abundance of nitrogen in the soil to flourish, and soybeans increase
nitrogen levels in soil. Insect problems including corn rootworms also
can increase when corn follows corn in a field, increasing chemical
costs.
"We did increase corn acres a lot and there has been some
switchback based on economics and guys are just getting tired of that
corn on corn. It’s a tough thing to handle," said Kevin Scott, who farms
2,500 acres in corn and soybeans near Valley Springs, S.D., about 15
miles east of Sioux Falls.
In South Dakota, farmers planted 4.8
percent fewer corn acres and 6 percent more soybean acres this year, the
USDA said. North Dakota corn acres fell 20 percent, while soybean acres
jumped 29 percent.
"Farmers are going to grow what’s most
valuable to them and corn and soybeans work a little bit better than
wheat in that area right now," Scott said.
In Nebraska, soybean acres are up 12 percent, while corn is down 6.5 percent.
Corn
prices declined throughout last year, to below $5 per bushel. They saw a
brief increase to above $5 in April but since then have fallen $1 and
remain around $4.20
Soybean prices, however, have mostly climbed since 2012, from around $13 to nearly $14 per bushel.
Many
farmers indicated this year that they would return to their
corn-soybean crop rotation to both replenish nitrogen in the soil and
take advantage of the increased profitability of soybeans.
Even with reduction in corn planting, it will still be the fifth-largest corn acreage planted since 1944,
the USDA said.
Many
corn and soybean growing states have seen a stormy spring and too much
rain has left some fields drenched and water pooling. That impact is yet
to be seen, but it could cut into the actual number of corn and soybean
acres harvested this fall.
The USDA reports that 76 percent of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition, compared with 63
percent last year.
Soybean
plants also are faring better than average with to 83 percent emerged
by June 15, with progress equal to or ahead of the normal pace in 14 of
the 18 major growing states, the USDA said.

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