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Soybean Switch Unlikely in Eastern Corn Belt

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Soybean Switch Unlikely in Eastern Corn Belt

Daniel Call
Daniel Call

As planters begin to roll, will some growers be making a switchto soybeans? Some economists say yes but seed companies say no. “I would not be surprised to see up to 1 million acre move away from corn to soybeans or some other crop,” stated University of Illinois ag economist Darrel Good.  He believes that, given the increase in soybean prices since the planting intentions report, there would be a switch from corn to soybean areas.

But, this does not seem to be the case in the Eastern Corn Belt. Daniel Call, with Seed Consultants, told HAT they are hearing very little about growers switching to soybeans, “We are hearing very little noise about such a move. I think the key is the good weather and soil conditions and the relatively early planting opportunity. This is going to encourage guys to go ahead and plant corn and not switch.”

Call says most growers like to stick with a rotation and suggests a last minute switch could result in lower yields, “You are looking at a 5% to 15% yield hit right off the bat if you plant soybeans after soybeans.” He added this yield drag would diminish much of the financial advantage that a switch might offer. He said prior to the Planting Intentions report there was a financial advantage to planting corn, but since the report the two crops are close to even.  Much of the projected increase in  corn acreage was in the western and northern states.

Call said that soil temperatures have increased nicely and that planting is moving ahead quickly across much of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky this week, “Even some fields that had snow on them 10 days ago are ready for planting.”   He added, if growers want to plant a few extra acres of soybeans, the seed supply is good owing to good production from the 2015 seed crop.