STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service said Mississippi’s anticipated soybean acreage, 2.35 million acres, is higher than in recent years, and it may grow even larger by the end of planting season.

“At the end of the day, we could even be a little higher than that estimate, as we’ve had some acres shift from other crops into soybeans. There will also be a few more acres planted as double-crop soybeans are planted behind harvested wheat,” said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Irby said the crop had a good start in the state, with a respectable amount planted in April. Mississippi has had wet and cold springs in recent years, but 2022 has not followed that trend exactly. While some areas stayed too wet to plant for an extended time, other areas suffered from drought-like conditions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates crop progress and condition each week of the growing season. On June 5, USDA estimated the Mississippi soybean crop was 95% planted, which is slightly ahead of the 5-year average. They also estimated 80% of the crop was in good or excellent condition, 16% was good and only 4% fair. None was rated as poor.

Irby said growers harvested a state average of 54 bushels an acre in 2021. The actual number of irrigated fields in the state varies each year, but more than half of the soybean acreage is irrigated in any given year.

While soybeans were once grown in Mississippi when it was not possible to grow anything else, the crop started to become significant to the state in the mid- to late 2000s. As yields grew, interest in the crop grew. Today, soybeans are a major part of Mississippi agriculture and the most valuable row crop in the state, worth an estimated $1.49 billion in 2021.

Will Maples, Extension agricultural economist, said USDA projects a 2022–2023 average farm price of $14.40 a bushel for soybeans. This price is up from the $13.25 average in 2021.

“The soybean market remains positive and is influenced by strong export demand for U.S. soybeans,” Maples said. “This demand should remain high, as the U.S. will be the only major source of soybeans for the next eight months.”

Nationally, about 50% of the soybean crop is exported, and the remainder is crushed for oil and meal, which is used for animal feed.