Soybean harvest is underway in South Carolina, and SC Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers says they're looking for a good crop this year, possibly five bushels above the state-wide average, or more. South Carolina fared better than most states in the Midwest regarding timely rainfall, or in some cases no rain, and the state planted about 380,000 acres of beans this year.
The top five SC counties for growing soybeans are Clarndon, Florence, Orangeburg, Williamsburg and Horry. With poultry being South Carolina agriculture's number one cash crop, a good soybean harvest will reduce the amount of bean meal imported from other states or countries to feed the poultry industry.
“We have had a more fortunate year with moisture. I have heard some really good yields on early variety beans. That’s a little unusual. Perhaps what turned out as a little dry spell at the end of the summer might have been after all the beans were set.
Soybeans are bumping up toward 400,000 acres. Back in the hay day of soybeans we had over 1 million acres planted. With the prices and the markets on the horizon, it wouldn’t surprise me to see lose to ½ million acres next year.
South Carolina is historically at 25 bushels per acre, but with what I’m hearing, I think we will be 30 or better on the state average. That’s important because we are a protein deficit state for our own livestock industry. The crop that we had last year produced over ½ million tons of beans, so this year that number should be up. That will be great for the poultry meal industry that takes about 90% of soybean meal produced.
With 5 extra bushels per acre, at $15 per acre that is a big deal. Farmers are investing more in irrigation in order to insulate themselves from the dry years.”