The June 30 USDA acreage report indicated no significant change in the expectation for record U.S. soybean acreage of 89.5 million acres this year. Modest decreases in acreage were reported for several states, but larger plantings are now estimated for Illinois, Missouri, and North Dakota. Remarkably, the expected record acreage for North Dakota rose another 4% to 7.2 million acres, which is a higher level of acreage than Minnesota typically planted just a few years ago. North Dakota is now the fourth largest soybean growing state by area, but production will continue to lag well behind states farther to the east and south, because the climate is too cool for optimal soybean yields in North Dakota.
The change in the CropProphet soybean yield forecast in the past two weeks clearly illustrates the temperature dependence of soybean outcomes across the Midwest (see figure below). Projected yields have decreased in northern growing areas, reversing the gains of the first half of June, as above-normal temperatures changed to below normal during the course of the month. Farther to the south, cooler temperatures were not detrimental, and prospects have improved in response to more positive satellite health indications.
The substantial improvement that is evident in northern Indiana reflects a recovery from earlier impacts of excessive rainfall and planting delays, and the expected statewide soybean yield is now back above 50 bushels per acre and is not far below trend (see figure below). On a national basis the CropProphet soybean yield forecast has seen almost no change recently and remains very close to the long-term trend value of 46.7 bushels per acre (see figure below).
The next update to the soybeans commentary will occur on July 18.