COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio soybeans may turn out to be the surprise performance of the growing season.
Early harvest of the crop is producing yields ranging anywhere from the low 40s into the upper 70s in bushels per acre, much higher than what was anticipated.
"The high soybean yields are a complete surprise considering all the factors with a wet spring and diseases that we faced through the season," said Jim Beuerlein, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist. "Last year only saw an average of 38 bushels per acre and this year I was kicking around 40-41 bushels per acre. But fields in certain areas are already yielding much higher than that."
About 22 percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, according to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service. That's 17 percent ahead of last year and 10 percent ahead of the five-year average.
Beuerlein said that fields already harvested were planted early and experienced good growing conditions, adequate moisture and little disease problems.
"Some fields that had problems with diseases had less yield loss than anticipated due to good weather in July and August," said Beuerlein. "So we anticipate better yields to coming from those fields also. Some growers who only thought they would get 30-40 bushels out of their fields ended up getting 10-20 percent more than that."
Beurelein speculates that near perfect growing conditions the latter half of the growing season are contributing to the exceptional yields.
"Water is extremely important for beans and we generally got the water when we needed it," he said.
Beuerlein anticipates lower yields in southern Ohio fields that were impacted by flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan. Also, fields in northeastern Ohio are targets for early frost, since many of them were not planted until late July.