News Filed Under Soybeans
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- State growers had every reason in mid-summer to expect one of the largest soybean yields ever, but then saw that chance stolen by drought.
Dr. Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the lack of rain since mid-July ruined yields of late-planted soybeans, while doing less damage to yields of early planted, early-maturing varieties.
"We had the potential to have the best crop we've ever had," Blaine said. "A lot of the crop was one rain away from making an excellent yield."
By Rebekah Ray
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- "Would you like soybeans with that order?"
Asians have long appreciated the taste and benefits of soybean protein in their diets, but most Americans have not rushed to purchase soy products. One Mississippi State University researcher has increased Western acceptance of this healthful food by blending soybean protein with yogurt.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi soybean growers, much like other 1999 row crop producers, need a bumper crop to compensate for the depressed market prices.
"When the market is this low and the prospects are this bleak, growers always want to produce record yields to lower their break-even costs," said Dr. Tom Jones, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers across Mississippi are moving some of their acres to cotton or soybeans based on poor prices and a bad year for corn in 1998.
Dr. Erick Larson, corn specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said last year's problems with aflatoxin have been the most significant factor keeping corn acreage low this year.
"Many growers are uncomfortable dealing with the risk of aflatoxin because it develops based primarily on environmental conditions over which the grower has little control," Larson said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Knowing what the weather will be like is about the only variable keeping Mississippi State University researchers from being able to predict some cotton and soybean yields.
Dr. Harry Hodges, crop physiology and production specialist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said computer programs have been developed to simulate crop growth. The goal is to know how plants will respond to environmental variables.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A program aimed at improving soybean yields in Mississippi helped farmers produce 1998 soybean yields that, despite the drought, averaged 45 bushels an acre, 20 more than the state average.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most cotton and soybean farmers relaxed as Hurricane Georges hung a hard right after landfall, but for Southeast Mississippi growers, the results were devastating.
Dr. Alan Blaine, agronomist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers across the state with fields almost ready for harvest were working around the clock to avoid the predicted heavy winds and rain.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi soybean growers are going into harvest hoping to survive a year of bad yields made worse by bad prices.
Early in the growing season, high temperatures and drought were the crop's worst enemies. Non-irrigated and early maturing Group IV soybeans were hardest hit. As harvest neared, prices fell, compounding the disastrous effects of low yields.
Yields have averaged 25 to 27 bushels an acre, compared to 1997's average of 31 bushels. Prices are currently about $5.30 per bushel, rather than a normal price of $6.80.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent rains across parts of the state breathed new life into some parched soybean fields, but much of the state's crop is still in critical need of moisture.
Storms have brought more than an inch of rain to parts of northeast and central Mississippi, while other areas, including most of the Delta, did not get any.
Dr. David Shaw, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station weed scientist, said soybean yields will drop significantly if the rest of the crop does not get rain in seven to 10 days.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some Mississippi farmers are banking on early soybean varieties to produce the yields of recent years because the markets are not going to be much help.
Dr. Tom Jones, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said there is more potential for soybean prices to go down than there is for them to increase.
"U.S. soybean acreage is up slightly, South American crops are strong and the forecast is for good growing conditions this year," Jones said. "There is just no reason for prices to come up anytime soon."
By Rhonda Whitmire
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean farmers have relied on variety testing results for many years, and now they can view the latest results on the Internet.
Since 1982, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, in cooperation with Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, has tested various soybean varieties. Farmers receive the results through MAFES and extension publications and by word of mouth.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's total value of production posted an new record of $4.9 billion, an increase of 3 percent from 1996. Casual observers might think a 3 percent change means little happened in Mississippi's 1997 farm economy.
"Several row crops had significant changes in their total value this year, but that was largely because of planted acreage changes," said Dr. John Robinson, extension agricultural economist at Mississippi State University.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Like a real roller coaster ride, 1997 left some farmers saying, "Let's go again," and others saying, "No way."
Cold, wet conditions at planting time had row-crop growers struggling to plant fields. As the conditions persisted, the young plants struggled to mature.
"Early season conditions resulted in about 30,000 acres of cotton being destroyed -- mainly in Northeast Mississippi," said Dr. Will McCarty, extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University.
Growers planted much of the state's cotton later than ideal.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some Mississippi soybean growers are looking at excellent yields; others, who fell victim to unseasonably cool, wet conditions at planting time, never had a chance.
Mack Young, Quitman County agricultural agent, said this year's crop is divided into early, middle and late crop beans.
"Yields on the earliest planted beans are looking really good. With at least half the Group IV's harvested, yields are running from the mid-30s to the 60-bushel-per-acre range," Young said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The harvest season is approaching for Mississippi's "big three" row crops, and it's been a difficult year for some producers.
"There's a lot of variation in this year's soybean crop," said extension soybean specialist Alan Blaine. "Depending on who you talk to, it's either one of the best ever or one of the worst. On average, the 1997 soybean crop in Mississippi is a good one."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's estimate for the state's soybean crop is about 55 million bushels, up from more than 54 million harvested last year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Several Mississippi farmers have made smart management changes and increased their average yields by more than 14 bushels an acre.
At $7 a bushel, that increases income by almost $100 an acre. If half of the state's 2 million soybean acres saw this increase, soybean income would rise about $100 million annually.
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean growers remain optimistic about the state's 1997 crop despite cool, rainy weather conditions that have been less than ideal for planting.
Dr. Alan Blaine, extension soybean specialist at Mississippi State University, said rain several weeks ago concerned growers, but after it stopped the ground dried so quickly that some farmers planted their first soybeans in dry soil.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A projected soybean increase of 200,000 acres is pushing Mississippi's planted acreage up for 1997, despite drops in cotton and corn.
Mississippi is expected to plant 3.9 million acres in the state's top four crops -- soybeans, cotton, corn and rice -- compared to 3.76 million acres last year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Planting Intentions Report, released March 31, revealed few surprises. Rice was the only other row crop expected to increase acreage in 1997, jumping 19 percent to 250,000 acres.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean growers with Internet access have a valuable resource to help them as they choose what varieties to plant in their fields.
Dr. Alan Blaine, Mississippi State University extension agronomist, said 1997 soybean variety trial information is now posted on the Internet. Information is available on yield, maturity dates, disease reactions, lodging scores and long-term yield averages.
Results of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station soybean variety trials for 1994-1996 are available at http://www.ext.msstate.edu/soyvar.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi's soybean growers are experiencing that age-old farming lesson: no one can predict the weather with certainty from planting to harvest.
"If someone could tell me exactly what the weather would do, I could tell them what soybean maturity group to plant," said Dr. Alan Blaine, extension agronomist at Mississippi State University.