Fundamentally Speaking

Soybeans Attain Second Highest US Yield Ever

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst

USDA's final 2021 soybean crop estimate increased 10 million bushels (mb) from November and was just 2 mb above the average pre-report estimate but still record large at 4.435 billion bushels (bb) eclipsing the previous high in 2018.

The USDA raised its national average yield by 0.2 bushels to 51.4 bushels per acre (bpa), the second highest behind the 2016 record of 51.9 bpa per acre, though note that 11 of the top 18 states did set all-time highs.

In both the case of corn and soybeans, were it not for the dismal performance of crops in the Dakotas and Minnesota where growing conditions last year were the worst, national yields could have been even high perhaps resulting in greater stocks and lower prices than currently prevail.

Similar to what we did with corn, this graphic shows the 2021 soybean yield percent deviation from 20-year trend on the left-hand axis vs the percent change of final 2021 yields compared to the 2020 yields and the percent change in the USDA's 2021 yield estimates from the August 2021 to the final report on the right-hand axis for the top 18 growing states and the US.

No surprise that North Dakota and South Dakota were the two worst states in terms of negative deviation from trend yields and the percent that yields this past season dropped off from the 2020 figures.

KS had the third largest negative deviation from trend and MN saw the third largest decline from the final 2020 soybean yield.

The only positive spin for ND is that the results could have been worse, but some late season rains did help boost their 2021 yield by 1.5 bpa (6.3%) from the August to final report.

Two other northern states also benefitted from some good late season moisture with WI seeing a rise in yields from August to January of 6 bpa (12.2%) and MN having a 4 bpa (9.3%) Aug to final yield increase.

Meanwhile crop conditions also improved in Iowa whose 62.0 bpa yield was not only a new record but showed the greatest positive deviation from trend at up 8.2% and the largest percent increase vs the 2020 yield, up 15%.

As in corn, those states that were further east and south fared better than those in more western and northern areas and were the ones most likely to attain above trend yields and all-time high state records.


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