Tag Archives: soybeans

Despite challenging weather during harvest, the best agronomic practices and wisely selected varieties still contributed to Kansas farmers’ producing high-yielding, valuable soybeans in 2018.


“The annual Kansas Soybean Yield and Value Contests recognize outstanding Kansas farmers and provide fun incentives for them to improve,” said Doug Shoup, Ph.D., Scranton, a former Kansas State University area agronomist, who just completed his fifth and final year as the contests coordinator. “They also allow the Kansas Soybean Association, thanks to checkoff funding from the Kansas Soybean Commission, to share what participants learned to benefit all Kansas soybean farmers.”


Love & Love Farms, Montezuma, topped the statewide irrigated division with a conventional-tillage entry that made 104.14 bushels per acre – the contest’s new record and only the second entry ever to document more than 100 bushels. Matt Geiger, Denton, led the dryland division with a conventional-tillage entry of 94.10 bushels per acre. Kole McCauley, Leona, won the value contest with $1.037 per bushel of increased value (12.1 percent over the cash price).


The yield contest included 29 entries, down 11 from 2017. The 19 winners in 10 categories had verified yields averaging 81.87 bushels per acre, compared to the reported state average of 42bushels per acre in 2018. The contest winners’ average increased by 3.76 bushels per acre, while the state average increased 2 bushels per acre from 2017.


The value contest had 21 entries, 10 fewer than in the previous year. For their protein and oil contents, the top three entries averaged 99.3 cents (11.5 percent)in increased value over the $8.60base cash price. In 2017, that average was 93.8 cents (10.2 percent) above a $9.18 cash price.


From north-northeastern Kansas, Jason Taylor, Highland, won the district conventional-tillage, dryland competition with 92.31 bushels per acre. Henry Farms Inc., Robinson, won the district no-till, dryland competition with 79.10 bushels per acre and placed third in the Kansas Soybean Value Contest with 95.2 cents per bushel (11.1 percent) of increased value.


From northeastern Kansas, Kenny Wilson, Horton, placed second to Geiger (Denton) in the district conventional-tillage, dryland competition with 80.61 bushels per acre. William (Alex) Noll, Winchester, placed third with 73.90 bushels per acre and placed second in the Kansas Soybean Value Contest with 98.9 cents per bushel (11.5 percent) of increased value. Vering Land & Pork, Marysville, won the district no-till, dryland competition with 78.64 bushels per acre. Terry Strube, Horton,placed second with 74.79 bushels per acre. Kent Grimm, Morrill, placed second in the statewide no-till, irrigated competition with 87.96 bushels per acre. David Olson, Hiawatha, placed third with 84.25 bushels per acre.


In north-central Kansas, Rod Stewart, Washington, won the district conventional-tillage, dryland competition with 65.82 bushels per acre. Ryan Stewart, Washington, won the district no-till, dryland competition with 80.50 bushels per acre. Lee Pifer, Washington, placed second with 67.10 bushels per acre. Curtis Kohman, Washington, placed third with 66.10 bushels per acre.


In southeastern Kansas, Bob Timmons of Timmons Bros. Farms, Fredonia, won the district conventional-tillage, dryland competition with 79.42 bushels per acre. Bradley McVey, Fredonia, won the district no-till, dryland competition with 67.36 bushels per acre.


From northwestern Kansas, Michael Meier, Selden, placed second (to Love & Love Farms) in the statewide conventional-tillage, irrigated competition with 95.36 bushels per acre. Scott Ellis and Brock Ellis of Ellis Farms Inc., Norton, placed third with 94.26 bushels per acre. Harold Koster, Hoxie, won the statewide no-till, irrigated competition with 88.92 bushels per acre.


The Kansas Soybean Association presented the state and district winners with plaques or certificates and monetary prizes from the Kansas Soybean Commission at the Kansas Soybean Expo, Jan. 9 in Topeka. The highest dryland and irrigated yields in the state each received a $1,000 award, and Love & Love Farms (Montezuma) got an additional $1,000 bonus for surpassing 100 bushels per acre. In each district, first place won $300, second earned $200, and third received $100.

While U.S. soybean sales to China suffered in 2018, they’re making some headway across the Atlantic Ocean. On the 50th anniversary of the soybean industry’s development efforts in the European Union, the United States has outpaced Brazil as the number one supplier to the continent.

The website U.S. Soy Dot Org says America is also the top soybean supplier to the Middle East and North Africa. Farmers and industry officials say the challenge is to make sure the growth that began as a result of the trade dispute with China keeps going in the right direction. Brazil soybeans are currently fetching a big premium. Government data says Brazil soybeans are getting $89 per metric ton more, on average, than U.S. oilseeds were last month, due to Chinese demand. A drought also dramatically cut production and meal output in Argentina, the world’s top exporter in 2017.

As a result, U.S. soybeans and meal exports are up 243 percent and 105 percent, respectively, to Europe and the Middle East/North Africa regions. Countries like Egypt, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and many others have either increased their soybean purchases or have become new customers.

U.S. soybean farmers welcomed news from President Trump Monday confirming a second payment under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Market Facilitation Program.

“Soy growers are very thankful that President Trump understands the need for this payment on the full 2018 production and that the Administration will deliver the second half of the aid as promised. While it will not make our losses whole, it will certainly help offset the drop in prices we have experienced since China cut off U.S. soybean imports,” said American Soybean Association (ASA) president Davie Stephens, a soybean producer from Clinton, Kentucky. “We saw some initial sales of U.S. soybeans to China last week, which was also welcomed news and we hope a sign that the trade war could be turning a corner as a result of President Trump’s recent meeting with President Xi.”

The Administration announced the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) in July as part of a trade aid package to partially offset the short-term impact of foreign tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, including a 25 percent duty imposed by China on soybean imports. Farmers who apply under the MFP by January 15 and who have been eligible to receive payments on half of their 2018 production will now receive a payment of $1.65 per bushel on their entire harvested crop.

ASA continues to advocate for a negotiated solution to the trade war that would result in China rescinding the 25 percent tariff and fully opening its market to commercial purchases of U.S. soybeans. Said Stephens, “The sooner the market opens and tariffs are rescinded, the sooner we can start to rebuild the exports we have lost this year.”

The mysterious orange maggots that drilled into soybean stems and killed plants in parts of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota last summer now have known adult relatives.

Entomologists were able to capture the adult version of the soybean gall midge in the field and confirm their identity by rearing a few larvae to adulthood in a laboratory environment this fall. University of Nebraska entomologist Justin McMechan said knowing what the adults look like is a big step in figuring out their life cycle and monitoring emergence next spring in areas where there was a problem the previous year.

The adult soybean gall midge that emerged was approximately 1/4 inch in length with an orange abdomen and legs with distinctive black-and-white bands. Entomology teams cooperated in surveys last summer to find soybean gall midge larvae present in 66 counties in the four states.

McMechan said adults raised from the maggots collected from infested fields were sent to Raymond Gagne, a collaborator in the USDA ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory, and Junichi Yukawa, emeritus professor of Kyushu University, Japan, leading authorities in midge identification.

Scientists had assumed the pest to be part of the large midge family, and identifying the adult has allowed them to narrow it to the genus Resseliella, which encompasses 55 species worldwide, 15 of which have been identified in the United States. However, none of these species are known to occur on soybeans, and DNA and morphological comparisons by Gagne and Yukawa indicate that it is a new species, McMechan told DTN.

“That’s something of a challenge because this genus has a really wide host range, showing up on all kinds of plants and the adults look very similar,” he said.


McMechan said soybean gall midge caused a few late-season issues in 2016 and 2017. Scientists are now trying to determine why it arrived as early as June in 2018 and was found over a larger geographical area.

The good news is the earlier arrival time and multiple generations allowed researchers additional time to make some important field and laboratory observations. The bad news for farmers was the pest had more time to munch away at yields while the farmers themselves could do little to stop the feeding.

Wayne Martin witnessed just how destructive soybean gall midge can be. The Shelby, Iowa, farmer watched with horror as the maggots, which start out as creamy white, turn pink and then orange-to-red, munched away inside soybean stems. Plants wilted and eventually died from the invasion.

“At first we thought it was just the outside field edges, and watching the yield monitor, the outside passes were ugly. But we found more damage further into the field during harvest than we expected. Yield maps really told the tale,” he said.

McMechan said studies of management practices such as planting date and soybean maturity group were evaluated for soybean gall midge damage at the Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic plots at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.

These plots are used for demonstration purposes and are not replicated, he noted. Soybeans were planted every three weeks beginning in late April through the end of June. Each planting date consisted of four maturity groups (1, 2, 3 and 4).

Dissections of random plants from each plot showed that all maturity groups within each planting date were infested, with the exception of a late-June planting date. This matches observations of later-planted soybean fields in Iowa and South Dakota having reduced visual symptoms and lower infestation rates, he reported in a news article.

Read it here:


Maturity groups 1 and 2 showed visible signs of damage at or near the soil surface, whereas late-maturity groups 3 and 4 showed signs of plant damage in the axils of the trifoliate approximately 6 to 8 inches from the soil surface, he said.

“In heavily damaged fields, losses associated with soybean gall midge are inevitable due to the number of dead or dying soybean plants, McMechan wrote in a news release. “Damage to the phloem and xylem of the plant is likely to result in yield reductions for surviving soybean gall midge infested plants. Additional losses are also anticipated due to the lack of stem strength, predisposing plants to increased risk of lodging if harvest is delayed. Yield loss estimates on a small sample of plants from a heavily damaged field indicate nearly complete yield loss from the field edge up to 100 ft., with about a 20% yield loss 200 and 400 ft. from the field edge.”


What Martin wants to know is if the pests arrived because of an environmental set of events or if they are here to stay.

McMechan and other entomologists are working to answer that question and others. What they believe now is that gall midge is capable of overwintering.

“Knowing what the adult looks like is a critical piece of the puzzle we were lacking,” he said. Last summer, McMechan said, he searched high and low for the adult form — laying in the canopy and setting traps for the elusive gnat-like pests.

He hypothesized then that they fall from the plant foliage, pupate and emerge from the soil during the summer. In fact, he said fields that were back-to-back soy did not show an increase in severity in fields that had issues the previous year.

“Everything right now is assumptions,” he emphasized. “However, based on distribution, we believe vegetation on the edge of the field might be important, and we’re not sure if that’s a host relationship or if it is simply an environment for the adults to move into early in the spring prior to infesting soybean fields.”

McMechan cautioned frantic farmers from making rash management decisions about spraying or changing rotations that might have negative side effects to other beneficial insects or create secondary pest issues.

He said a monitoring program is being developed that will include insecticide trials. They also will be looking at insect emergence curves, disease interactions and simulating hail events.

Farmers interested in participating in monitoring and trapping for the pest should contact their state Extension entomologist.

Models that wrap degree-days or other cultural practices are the goal. “We don’t know if this is a shift in insect population or if they’ve adapted in some way.

“But we are excited that we have the next clue, and we will keep learning and we are happy to have farmer input on all of this,” McMechan said.

The resumption of soybean sales to China this week is encouraging to American farmers who have seen the value of their crop plummet amid a trade war with the world’s second-largest economy, but producers see it only as a small step and say they need more federal aid.

Private exporters reported sales of 1.13 million metric tons of soybeans to China on Thursday and another 300,000 metric tons on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The Thursday report was the ninth-largest daily sale since 1977, according to the agency’s Foreign Agriculture Service, and it comes less than two weeks after the Trump administration reached a three-month truce in its trade war with China during which the two sides will try to work out their differences.

Davie Stephens, a Kentucky farmer who serves as president of the American Soybean Association, said the resumption of sales is “positive news” but that “it is vital that this 90-day process result in lifting the current 25 percent tariff that China continues to impose on U.S. soybean imports.”

“Without removal of this tariff, it is improbable that sales of U.S. soybeans to China can be sustained,” he said.

China had suspended U.S. soybean purchases earlier this year but under the truce agreed to buy more U.S. farm products. The country typically buys between 30 million and 35 million metric tons of U.S. beans in a normal year.

News of the U.S. sale might prompt some farmers to sell some of the soybeans they have stored on their farms, in part because South American crops will be hitting the world market within a couple of months, said Huron, South Dakota, farmer Brandon Wipf, who serves on the American Soybean Association board.

“We have a narrow window out of which to operate,” he said. “I think you’ll see some farmers selling, some holding on for a little better prices.”

No beans are moving yet out of North Dakota, which typically sends most of its annual crop to Pacific Northwest ports from which the beans go overseas to southeast Asia.

“It may take some time to get the shuttle trains in place and get ocean-going vessels stationed at the PNW,” said North Dakota Soybean Growers Association Executive Director Nancy Johnson. The sale announced this week is for delivery after the new year, she said, and it did not significantly boost prices.

January soybean futures in early Friday trading on the Chicago Board of Trade gained 40 cents to about $9.06 a bushel. That’s down from almost $15 a bushel four years ago and nearly $10 a bushel 18 months ago.

Soybean farmers are getting the largest share of a federal program created to compensate producers up to $12 billion for trade-related losses, though this year’s payment of 82 cents a bushel doesn’t match a market price drop of about $2 per bushel since May.

The Trump administration has said another 82 cents might be approved next year if a trade deal isn’t reached. Both the American Soybean Association and the National Farmers Union this week pushed for a second payment while the administration works on a long-term trade solution.

The farm sector has already lost far more value to this trade war than the (compensation) payments will provide, and damages due to lost markets will persist long into the future,” Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said. “The administration should be doing everything it can to protect the men and women who feed, fuel and clothe this nation.”

North Dakota U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, said Friday that he stressed the importance of the second payment to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

Not getting a second payment could be a “deal-breaker” for some farmers in terms of their support for the Trump administration, according to Wipf.

“They would see that as a broken promise by the administration,” he said. “We’re of course encouraging the administration not to make the miscalculation that this little bit of detente we have with China has suddenly fixed all the problems we have.”

China is officially buying U.S. soybeans again, which is good news for American agriculture. This week’s purchase amount was one for the record books.

A Farm Journal report says the latest U.S. Soybean Export Sales Report from USDA shows that China bought 1,130,000 metric tons of soybeans. To give that amount some perspective, it’s the ninth-largest one-day purchase in ten years. It’s also the biggest Chinese soybean buy in the four years. It’s also the biggest soybean buy of this year, so far. President Trump told Reuters that, “They’re buying tremendous amounts of soybeans. They’re definitely back in the market.”

Reuters says it seems to affirm the trade truce that the U.S. and China reached on December 1st. We still don’t know if China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans and other farm goods will be dropped as a part of the temporary truce. There’s also no word on whether or not the countries can resolve the longer-term disputes, including forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft within 90 days. That’s when President Trump said additional tariffs will go into effect and the trade war will resume

While the U.S. and China have reached a deal for China to buy U.S. agricultural goods, the market is waiting for China to drop tariffs before transactions take place.

Reuters reports no substantial purchases can happen with a 25 percent duty still in place on U.S. soybeans, corn, sorghum and wheat, according to buyers and analysts. China over the weekend agreed to a trade war ceasefire, and the White House said China had promised to buy an unspecified but “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, with purchases of farm goods to start “immediately.”

Though, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the purchases will likely start next month. China’s foreign ministry said on Monday that the two presidents had instructed their economic teams to work towards removing all tariffs. Until then, Brazil is nearing harvest season of its soybean crop and, being cheaper, could instead supply China’s soybean needs.