Multiple factors are converging to entice many farmers to plant soybeans this spring. An early winter wheat harvest combined with higher commodity prices for the grain and little need to fertilize this crop is proving nearly irresistible to many farmers.
Farmers in parts of Kansas, where timely rains and a warm start to the spring have accelerated the wheat crop’s progress, will harvest winter wheat up to three to four weeks early. This will leave time to plant soybeans. Participants on the annual Wheat Quality Council’s Wheat Tour have seen that warm weather and timely rains sped up plant development this year.
“There are going to be a lot of” soybeans planted after the wheat harvest, Tom Leffler, owner of Leffler Commodities LLC, told Businessweek.com during an interview at the Wheat Tour. “The early harvest gives you the advantage of getting it in. And the economies make sense.”
Businessweek.com reports that wheat farmers in central and southwestern Kansas are forecast to harvest 48.5 bushels an acre this year. The record was 49 bushels an acre, which was set in 1998, according to the USDA.
Kansas farmers aren’t the only ones looking to plant more soybeans. Oklahoma farmers are also looking to plant soybeans after wheat this year. In addition, Louisiana could increase soybean acres by 20 percent compared to last year, according to Louisiana State University AgCenter soybean specialist Ron Levy.
“I would say we’re going to somewhere around 1.2 million acres,” he told the Associated Press Tuesday. “The high cost of fertilizer has moved some corn acreage into soybeans, and cotton acreage is moving to soybeans because cotton prices are low.”
Levy reported seeing an increase in LibertyLink soybeans this year due to concerns over glyphosate resistant weeds. But he says most are sticking with Roundup Ready varieties.