2016 Record Breaking Soybean Yields



The USDA November 2016 crop report report indicates that the state average soybean yield will be about 52 bushels per acre. If this estimate is accurate, this yield will be 3 bushels higher than our next highest yield, which was 49 bushels per acre in 2015. The past two years’ record breaking yields are in contrast to historical Michigan yields, which have been hovering in the mid-forties for over ten years. (See the graph below for historical yields.) These yields can be attributed to improved soybean genetics, ever improving knowledge and production practices used by Michigan farmers, and of course, weather.

Early season field conditions were variable across the state but did result in very dry soils throughout July. Much needed relief came with timely August rainfall throughout a large portion of the state. This aided the crop in pod-fill which lead to more harvestable beans per pod and larger soybean seed size as well as adding new pods to the tops of many soybean plants.

This estimate is consistent with comments from many Michigan soybean growers who have shared their experiences. Many are reporting near or record farm yields as well as individual fields that exceeded expectations and historical yields. Because this high yield is shared by many of the largest soybean growing areas of the country, supply of U.S. soybeans is very high. Strong demand from domestic users as well as export partners has helped to support the price of soybeans. Let’s enjoy the success of this year and look forward to a prosperous 2017.