Arkansas soybean harvest coming to a rapid close

by George Jared ([email protected]) 1,118 views 

Photo courtesy of Arkansas Farm Bureau.

Arkansas’ soybean harvest is wrapping up and the expectations are for yields to be about average this year, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board Chair Donald Morton told Talk Business & Politics. An average yield of about 50 bushels per acre is a positive result after heavy rains in June and July seriously threatened the state’s top crop, he added.

Farmers have harvested 70-80% of their bean crops, and the only thing that has interrupted progress was a recent rain event. Prices have remained strong at about $12 per bushel.

“The harvest is going well. We’ve had a good fall,” Morton said.

ASPB has a lot to celebrate this year. It’s been 50 years since it was formed, and the number of soybean acres planted and harvested in the state rose. Gov. Asa Hutchinson recently proclaimed November as the state’s soybean month.

Arkansas soybean acreage increased by more than 10% in 2021, growing from about 2.8 million acres in 2020 to about 3.1 million acres, with a forecast harvest of more than 3 million acres.

Supply chain issues have plagued many sectors of the economy, but it hasn’t impacted state soybean farmers, Morton said. Riceland operated a large soybean processing facility in Stuttgart that is accessible to most farmers in the Delta region.

The only serious supply chain disruptions occurred when Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast earlier this year which caused barge traffic to slow on the Mississippi River, he said. That problem has been alleviated, he added.

Soybean acre growth in the Natural State looks promising in the coming year, Morton said. Fertilizer prices for corn and rice have risen, meaning it might be more profitable for farmers to plant soybeans to reduce input costs.

Trade relations with China have seemingly improved and it is an important market. The U.S. has exported 53.2 metric tons of soybeans in 2021, a 43% increase from the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. China has imported about 57% of U.S. soybean exports this year.

The soybean sector in the state accounts for about $2 billion in Arkansas, and it ranks as the 11th highest soybean producing state. The United Soybean Board is slated to host its annual meeting in Arkansas early next year, Morton added.