Fundamentally Speaking

Soybean Yields Well Below Trend in Dakotas, MN

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst
Chart by Joel Karlin, DTN Contributing Analyst

Similar to what we did with corn, this graphic shows the USDA's August 2021 and final 2020 soybean yield in bushels per acre (bpa) for the U.S. and top 18 soybean growing states on the left-hand axis while on the right-hand axis is the percent that this year's soybean yield deviates from the 1999-2020 trend.

Also reported in the yellow circles is where the 2021 yield ranks from 1999-2021 with 1 being the highest or top yield and 23 is the lowest.

This year's national yield at 50.0 bpa is 1.8% below the 1999-2020 trend of 50.9 and now is the third year in a row of below trend yields, not that common an occurrence with the prior peak set in 2018.

Seems strange then that 5 of the top 18 states have record yields, 3 of the top 18 have their second-best yields ever and two have their third highest yield ever.

The problem is that you have some very large producing states having below to well below normal yields from trend, all of them out west.

The Minnesota yield at 43 bpa is 11.3% below trend, that in North Dakota of 24 bpa is the second worst since 1999 and 30% below trend while in South Dakota their yield of 39 bpa is 16.1% below trend and given that these three states account for a combined 24% of the U.S. soybean planted area, the largest percent ever, this has had a depressing impact on the national soybean yield.

Interestingly last week's Pro-Farmer Tour pegged the crop at 4.436 billion bushels (bb) with an average yield of 51.2 bpa and this compares to the August 12 USDA estimates of 4.339 bb with a yield of 50.0 bpa as many tour participants indicated that there may be better upside potential for this crop than corn.

Though it appears that results from Pro-Farmer tour were better than expected, if that is the case that observation is predicated on there being some good finishing rains for the crops to reach their potential and interestingly this is more needed in Eastern Corn Belt which has had far better weather this season then the more stressed Western Corn Belt. The recent DTN Digital Yield Tour put overall U.S. average corn yields on August 13 at 176.5 bushels per acre (bpa) and soybean yield of 51.5 bpa. State yield expectations from that tour are available here https://spotlights.dtnpf.com/…

This is because many states have had record or close to record bean yield indications but in much of this area especially OH, IN and IL rains have been lacking all month and some sections are really dry.

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