Mississippi’s soybean value grew $1 billion since 2006
Soybeans have been an important commodity in Mississippi for more than 50 years, but recent advances have pushed the crop’s value above $1 billion.
Mississippi soybeans had a value of $267 million in 2006, $1.27 billion in 2012 and $1.17 billion in 2013. Prices have been high for the past several years, but state producers put more effort into management and increased yields to a record average of 45 bushels an acre in 2012 and 2013.
“Soybean prices have been favorable in recent years, and combined with better management to produce higher yields, the crop has become an even more significant contributor to agricultural value in the state,” said Greg Bohach, vice president of the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. “In the past decade, yields have steadily increased. The acreage devoted to soybeans has stayed fairly constant at about 2 million acres for the last six years.”
In 1961, Mississippi soybean producers harvested 1 million acres for the first time. Their fields yielded 22.5 bushels per acre and the crop was valued at about $60 million. Over the following decades, the crop gained ground and improved yields, due in part to MSU’s research and Extension efforts.
In 2006, producers harvested 1.65 million acres of soybeans at an average yield of 26 bushels an acre. Just seven years later, soybean producers set a record average yield of 45 bushels an acre harvested from 1.99 million acres.
Brian Williams, Extension agricultural economist, said price, yield and acreage drove the increase.
“Since 2003, Mississippi producers have broken the soybean yield record three times and tied it a fourth time,” Williams said. “Price has also increased significantly over the past 10 years. In 2001, soybean prices were under $5 per bushel, and they are trading at over $14 a bushel today.”
Williams said soybean yields the last two years are almost 20 bushels an acre better than they were in 2006. While that was a particularly bad year for production, yields have consistently improved from the early 2000s.
“There is no doubt that Mississippi growers have improved their soybean production,” he said.
Soybean is one of the least expensive crops to grow and in the past was planted on some of the less productive farmland with limited management. The MSU agricultural division began extensive efforts to improve soybean production in the state, and the results have been dramatic.
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