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Will the Shift in Soybean Acreage Impact National Yield in 2017?


USDA’s release of the March Prospective Planting report indicated an increase in planted acreage for soybeans in 2017. At a record high of 89.5 million acres, the report shows approximately 6 million additional acres of soybeans planted above last year and presents a possibility of record production in soybeans in 2017. The expansion of soybean acreage in the Prospective Plantings reports consisted of increases in many areas of the country with record levels of soybean planting intentions in the Western Corn Belt and Plains states. The size of the prospective soybean production in 2017 depends on the average yield for the crop which consists of many factors that will unfold over the next few months. Yield expectations are typically based on trend yield analysis, but recent above-trend yields combined with expanded acreage in lower yielding states raises the possibility of additional yield uncertainty in 2017. To address this issue, we first estimate trend yields for soybeans in states measured by the USDA. We then calculate a national trend yield estimate by weighting each state trend yield estimate by the percentage of acreage in that state in both 2017 and 2016. The difference in the two national trend yield calculation for the two weightings gives an indication of the potential yield impact of the acreage shift in 2017.

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