By David Knopf/Richmond News
The latest projections from the Department of Agriculture show a two-bushel-an-acre increase in soybean production in Missouri, but estimates for both beans and corn remain well below totals in recent years.
USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service reported on Oct. 12 that statewide yield for corn would remain at an average 75 bushels an acre. That’s the lowest figure for the state since 1983, when production dipped to 51 bushels.
While cooler temperatures and rainfall came too late for corn figures to improve – corn was 80 percent mature at the beginning of September and was nearly 90 percent harvested by Oct. 1 – better conditions did bump NASS yield projections for soybeans from 28 to 30 bushels an acre. Even with the increase, the total is Missouri’s lowest since the 29.5-bushel yield in 2003.
Norborne native Buddy Raasch, who grows corn and beans in Ray and several other counties, said the rain and cool nights helped soybeans planted later in the year.
Raasch declines to estimate yields or acre averages, but said a visual inspection of pods earlier in the harvest season indicated widespread stunted growth in 2012.
“You want three to four (beans) in a pod, and this year’s there’s a lot of ones and twos,” he said. “There’ll be some fields that do very, very well, some that don’t do as well.”
The drought delayed the emergence of bean plants, he said, which could prove a benefit at harvest.
“A lot of them laid in the ground for a month until the rain brought them up,” Raasch said. “That means they’re going to have two different maturities, which in the long run is going to help.”
According to NASS’s Oct. 12 projections, total production in the state would be 251 million bushels for corn – the lowest since 1999 – and 157.5 million bushels for soybeans, up 13.3 million from the September estimate but still the smallest since 2003, when the total was 146 million bushels.
Although 2012 yield totals for Ray County are unavailable, the county produced 5,577 million bushels of corn in 2011, an average of 128.8 bushels an acre. That would compare to the statewide projected average of 75 bushels, a dip of almost 54 bushels an acre.