The U.S. soybean crop is increasingly likely to produce above-trend yield in most areas, according to CropProphet, and the national yield and production forecasts improved slightly again in the past two weeks. Yield gains occurred quite widely across central and western parts of the Midwest, but the CropProphet yield forecasts dropped in Indiana and Ohio (see figure below). The west-east contrast in recent changes broadly reflects the rainfall pattern of recent weeks, with dry conditions in the east and much wetter conditions in the west (see figure below). As discussed in the August 15 commentary, soybean yields are very sensitive to late summer rainfall, as soil water deficits lead to difficulties with pod development, both in terms of pod numbers and seed numbers and weights.
The most likely value for U.S. soybean yield is now 48.6 bushels per acre, which remains slightly below the most recent USDA estimate, and the CropProphet forecasts for Indiana and Illinois remain well below the USDA estimates. Soybean prospects in Indiana have deteriorated in recent weeks after recovering strongly from flooding problems early in the summer (see figure below), and Indiana is now the only state in which below-trend soybean yields are expected, according to CropProphet. The confidence intervals associated with the CropProphet forecasts suggest a high probability that the USDA forecasts are too high in both Indiana and Illinois, for both yield and production.
The next update to the soybeans commentary will occur on September 12.