Fundamentally Speaking

Average Soybean Pod Weight vs. Number of Pods

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst

Similar to the story with corn, in its annual crop production report USDA lowered 2018 U.S. soybean production by 56 million bushels (mb) from its November 2018 estimate linked to a 200,000 decline in harvested acreage, and a final yield of 51.6 bushels per acre (bpa), off 0.5 bpa from its November projection but still the second highest in history next to the 51.9 bpa seen in 2016.

In the past USDA has released a graphic as part of their crop production briefing showing the Soybean Objective Yield Region that charts the number of soybean pods within an 18 square foot area vs. the implied soybean pod weight in grams per pod but did not do so.

Instead, we have recreated this graphic as we have done in the past for the 11 objective states and we also have calculated the weighted 11 state soybean yields in bpa.

This year we can say that the number of soybean pods within that 18 square foot area is the highest ever but that is offset by the lowest implied soybean pod weight since the big drought year of 2012.

Based on our calculations that use USDA state figures for production, harvested acreage, yield and pods per 18 square foot area, we show the average number of soybeans per an 18 square foot area in the 11 objective states as 1,924 pods which is the highest figure ever topping the prior peak of 1,891 in 2010.

On the other hand, the average implied pod weight was 0.3087 grams per pod, the lowest since 0.3081 seen in 2012.

We have also calculated the weighted 11 objective state yield at 52.8 bpa topped only by the 53.7 bpa figure scored in 2016.

Reason for the late season drop in yields and pod weights may be poor harvesting conditions in October due to very wet weather that may have also reduced the amount of harvested acres.



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