Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beans After Beans

There are going to be a lot of "beans after beans this year."  "If you want to ruin an agronomist’s day, ask him for the best management practices for planting soybeans back into soybeans. “They’re basically asking, what’s the best strategy for doing something we shouldn't be doing?” University of Wisconsin agronomist Shawn Conley told DTN, with undisguised frustration. “My number-one recommendation is don’t do it!”

He has a good point.  On the other hand, one of my best rotations is corn after corn followed by beans after beans and wheat planted after the beans in a five year rotation.  If you manage your farm, if you manage your rotation, fertility and weed control, I disagree with Shawn.

For better or worse, 2015 does promise to be the humble bean’s year to shine.  Last week, Informa Economics estimated that U.S. soybean acres will rise 5% to 88 million in 2015, as corn acres contract 2% to 88.6 million. “The specific numbers will be debated in the months ahead, but the general direction of less corn and more soybeans is generally accepted, as most measures of profitability currently favor soybeans,” many believe. The soybean’s place as the preferred commodity is far from permanent or stable, however.

 “Anyone considering planting soybeans in 2015 should be aware new-crop prices have plenty of bearish risk, especially if South America comes through with another record crop,” he pointed out. If growers plant the predicted 88 million acres of soybeans and the weather cooperates, the U.S. could produce a 4-billion-bushel crop,

The result would be another 240 million bushels in ending supplies that are already estimated at 410 million bushels in 2014-15. “Another year of good weather has the potential to bring November 2015 soybeans down to $7,”   Can you do better than $7 and can you make a profit at that price?

If you plan to plant beans after beans this year, we can help each other.  I have lots of blog posts on how I raise soybeans after 45 years experience.  Still, I know enough to be dangerous some days.  I do know that my eyes, my brain, a soil and tissue test helps me figure out how to plan the crop.  30 years of scouting for a fee doesn't hurt either.

What are you doing different in soybeans this year, especially if you are planting beans after beans. The picture shows what can happen if you don't plan.  This is more like 30 years continuous soybeans at least.


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