Arkansas Soybean Farmers Facing Catastrophic Losses

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Talk Business & Politics

A bad soybean harvest in Arkansas has turned much worse in the last week. The number of acres that are projected to be harvested has dropped by 320,000 acres to 3.25 million acres, according to the United States Agriculture Department. The bushel per acre average will drop from 50 bushels per acre to 48 bushels, according to USDA’s National Acreage Statistics Service (NASS).

That’s a 22.5 million bushel drop, soybean agronomist Jeremy Ross told our partners at Talk Business & Politics. Soybeans traded at $8.84 on Tuesday, meaning just the loss in bushels would equate to a nearly $200 million loss, he said. Only 44% of the soybean crop has been harvested as compared to 71% by this time in 2017. The five year average is more than 60% harvested by mid-October, he added.

Quality has been poor and torrential rains this weekend have kept farmers out of the fields, Ross said. He was hopeful quality would improve, but there’s no way to know right now. The first harvested fields had damage rates from 5 to 7%, a stark jump from the typical 1 to 2% damage rate. Damaged beans can be docked anywhere from 20 to 30% of the contracted rate, Ross said. Coupled with bushel losses and potential damage done to fields as farmers try to pull beans from rain soaked fields, the total economic impact could exceed more than $1 billion.

Read more from our partners at Talk Business & Politics.

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