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Wet Spring to Pinch US Soybean Production, Gro Model Predicts

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This year’s wet spring is forecast to diminish soybean acreage in North Dakota, Minnesota, and pockets of Ohio, Gro’s Prevent Plant Forecast Model shows. Any significant contraction in acres planted could further squeeze soybean stocks at a time when supplies are already under pressure from growing export and crush demand. 

Soybean planting progress nationwide has caught up to the five-year average pace in recent weeks, following a slow start to the season. But pockets of heavy planting delays that could shrink acreage persist in the northern Plains and upper Midwest. 

Heading into the growing season, US soybean acreage was slated to increase by 4% to 91 million acres, the highest level ever recorded. But the slow planting pace earlier this spring could undo that. 

The most recent year of significant prevent-plant soybean acreage was 2019, when 4.5 million acres, or nearly 6% of the planned soybean crop, wasn’t planted because of overly wet conditions. Soybean production dropped 20% in 2019 from a year earlier. 

Gro’s Prevent Plant Forecast Models, for both US corn and soybeans, predict the number of acres prevented from being planted at the county and national levels. The machine-learning models, which update daily, combine data on soil moisture, precipitation, soil surveys, and other variables to estimate prevent-plant acreage well in advance of the USDA’s initial prevent-plant report in mid-August. 

Gro users can track the crop’s outlook using our US Soybean Yield Forecast Model, which is currently pointing to a year-over-year yield decline. The machine-learning model updates on a daily basis and generates forecasts for each county and state, as well as a national yield forecast.

In North Dakota and Minnesota, the final soybean planting date for insurance purposes was June 10; in Ohio, it is June 30. After those dates, farmers can submit prevent-plant insurance claims. But planting soybeans after those dates results in a reduced crop insurance guarantee. 

Soybeans rank as the No. 1 crop in production value in North Dakota, having surpassed spring wheat in the past decade. North Dakota now represents about 4% of total US production, with soybean acreage in the state having increased three-fold in the past 10 years. 

The USDA, in its latest WASDE report, lowered its estimate for soybean ending stocks for both 2021/22 and 2022/23, due to higher export demand. But Gro’s soybean export forecast model predicts exports this year will sharply exceed the current USDA projections, tightening ending stocks still further. 

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