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High soybean yield, acres can’t offset lower prices

Although the value was down in 2013, Mississippi soybeans netted an estimated $993 million for state producers and remained the state’s biggest row crop. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence) click to enlarge
Although the value was down in 2013, Mississippi soybeans netted an estimated $993 million for state producers and remained the state’s biggest row crop. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)

By Bonnie Coblentz
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybeans continued their reign in 2013 as the state’s biggest row crop, posting an estimated value of $993 million, down 21 percent from 2012.

Poultry holds the state’s top spot in agricultural production, with an estimated 2013 value of $2.7 billion. Forestry is No. 2, with an estimated value of $1.2 billion, while soybeans come in third in the ranking of the state’s top agricultural commodities.

Although the value is down from the previous year, acreage is a bit up, said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. The average per-acre yield is expected to be 43 bushels, just slightly below the record average yield of 45 bushels an acre set in 2012.

“As of Nov. 1, Mississippi was projected to harvest nearly 2 million acres of soybeans in 2013,” Irby said. “Based on these estimates, this would be a 1.5 percent increase in soybean acreage from 2012.”

Soybeans had a late start in 2013, with frequent rains and low temperatures preventing planting in many areas around state during April and much of May. Although more acres than usual had to be replanted, producers adapted to their circumstances and did what they could to make the best crop.

“We did have some favorable weather in the late summer and early fall that allowed the crop to catch up quite a bit and remain strong, despite the late start,” he said. “We had more acreage that had to be replanted than we typically do, and in some cases, multiple replants were needed to get an optimal stand.”

Despite the increased acreage and high yields, lower soybean prices caused the drop in overall value.

“This is mostly a price-driven result, as Mississippi’s projected soybean price of $12.50 is less than the $14.40 average price received in 2012,” said John Michael Riley, Extension agricultural economist. “Prices for the coming year are expected to drop even lower, with predictions of $11.50 to $12.50.”

Brian Williams, Extension agricultural economist, said strong demand has helped to offset the price lull just a bit, although at lower levels than seen in 2012.

“Looking ahead, we’ll be watching Brazil and Argentina,” Williams said. “Their crops look good now, so that may be influencing the prediction of lower prices in the near future.”


With prices still good, Williams predicted Mississippi growers will increase the number of soybean acres planted in 2014. Irby said cropping intentions often depend on the market, and a lot can change between winter and the spring planting season.

“As long as market prices remain favorable for our soybean producers, I expect that Mississippi’s 2014 soybean acreage will be pretty consistent with what we’ve had the last couple of years,” Irby said.

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Released: Dec. 19, 2013
Contact: Dr. Trent Irby, 662-325-8616; Dr. John Michael Riley, 662-325-7986; and Dr. Brian Williams, 662-325-2676

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