Southampton soybean farmers have above average year

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jimmy Lee of Flaggy Run Farms harvests soybeans. -- SUBMITTED/Chris Drake


NEWSOMS—Favorable conditions for soybeans in Southampton County have resulted in an overall excellent harvest this season, and the market seems to reflect that strong bounty.

“Soybeans for delivery to local elevators today are hovering in the high $13 range from about $13.75 to $14 per bushel,” said County Extension Agent Chris Drake.

A record-high $17.94 per bushel hit a few months ago, Drake noted.

Out of the 30,162 acres devoted to the crop in the county, yields have been ranging from 40 to 65 bushels per acre with an average of 50 bushels for many farmers, he said.

Factors that nurtured the soybeans included proper rainfall, missing damaging storms such as Hurricane Sandy in late October, and more diligence against diseases and insects.

Farmers “scout for worm infestations and make timely insecticide treatments based on proven economic thresholds,” Drake said. “The same holds true for fungal diseases. These insecticide and fungicide applications help to preserve and increase yields.”

Westley Drake of Sandy Ridge Farms in Newsoms said he had an above-average soybean yield from the 250 acres he grew this year.

“They had a little bit more moisture content than we like them to have because it costs us money to dry. You don’t get as much per bushel” said Westley Drake.

“If we can pick them dry, we save a lot of money that way.”

He was also one of the farmers who double-cropped right behind winter wheat.

Those yields did well, and that was unusual, Westley Drake said, “Because beans that have the extra month tend to form better,” he said.

His view on the market is to wait and see because of a lack of strong indicators.

“I think the soybean market trend of late has been upward, but it’s leveled off. The future outlook is uncertain,” said Westley Drake. “I think it’s trending a bit down.”

Factors that count include politics, the stock market and the Midwest farmers who control the market and help determine price, he added.

As for next year, Chris Drake anticipates more soybeans to be planted.

Strong grain prices, so-so cotton prices and weak peanut contracts could encourage more of the crop “if things remain as they are today,” he said

He added that soybean seed prices will be higher in 2013, and that will added to production costs.