May 15, 2013
2013 U.S. Soybean Yield Estimate is 43.5 to 44.0 bu/ac
In the May WASDE report, they used the soybean planted area from the March Prospective Planting report (77.1 million acres) with 98.8% of those acres being harvested (76.2 million acres). The soybean planted acreage used in the WASDE estimate may end up being a little too low due to the switching of some anticipated corn acres to additional soybean production.
Therefore, it is estimated that the soybean acreage could end up being as much as a million acres more that the recent WASDE report. I would currently estimate that that two thirds of the acres not planted to corn could be switched to soybeans and one third will end up as prevent plant. The longer the corn planting is delayed, the less likely the acreage will be switched to soybeans and the more likely the acres will be claimed as prevent plant. We won't know the final planted acreage until the June Planted Report which will be released at the end of June.
The May WASDE report used a nationwide soybean yield of 44.5 bu/ac which they stated is "based on 1988-2012 trend analysis adjusted for weather during the growing season." Their estimated soybean yield would be a new record and it seems a little optimistic given the fact that we have had several years in a row of disappointing soybean yields. Therefore, their "adjustment for weather" must mean that they are anticipating good growing conditions during the summer. At this point, it's anybody's guess what the soybean yield will be, but I would be more inclined to use a little lower yield in the range of 43.5 to 44.0 bu/ac.
The primary factor in U.S. soybean yields is the weather during July and August. The soybean crop can overcome a poor or delayed start if the weather during July and August cooperates, but anticipating a record soybean yield at this point is a little premature in my opinion.