Soybeans largest crop in Va., runner-up in Del., Md.
Soybeans are a critical part of the ag business in the Delmarva states, representing the largest field crop in Virginia and the second largest field crop in both Delaware and Maryland.
“During 2021, major price influencers were resumption in domestic demand and exports (China and Mexico),” stated Tony Banks, senior assistant director of agriculture, development, and innovation for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Truck, rail and container availability and costs created uncertainty and delayed shipping of supplies/inputs to farmers as well as marketing their crops. Virginia growers had large crops in 2021 that made storage and transportation more challenging than a typical year (without COVID-19 impacts).”
Banks added “after leaving the U.S. market for a bit at end of 2021, China has returned to start buying again…. How long? How much? We don’t know.” He said supply chain and transit issues will continue to be problematic and will likely “…be even bigger issues in 2022.”
On Jan. 12, the USDA 2021 Field Crop Summary were issued for Maryland and Delaware. In Delaware, soybean production was estimated at 7.8 million bushels, up 8 percent from 2020. Yield was estimated at a record high 51 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels per acre from 2020. Harvested area, at 153,000 acres, was up 3 percent from 2020.
In Maryland, soybean production was estimated at 25.7 million bushels, up 18% from 2020. Yield was estimated at a record high 53 bushels per acre, up 6 bushels per acre from the previous year. Harvested area, at 485,000 acres, was up 4 percent from the previous year.
The USDA 2021 Virginia Field Crop Summary showed soybean production estimated at 27.1 million bushels, up 5 percent from the November forecast and up 15 percent from 2020.
Yield was estimated at 46 bushels per acre, up 4 bushels per acre from a year ago. Acreage for harvest of soybeans was estimated at 590,000 acres, up 30,000 acres from the previous year in the Commonwealth.
Nationwide statistics on soybean production place these statistics from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia into perspective.
The USDA reported that soybean production throughout the United States totaled a record-high 4.44 billion bushels for 2021, up 5 percentfrom 2020. USDA said there were record high yields in 21 states, with the average soybean yield estimated at 51.4 bushels per acre, 0.4 bushel per acre above 2020 and the second highest yield on record.
“Virginia soybean producers market their product through a variety of channels,” said Michael Wallace, director of communications of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “Much of the soybeans grown in the state arrive at the Perdue crushing and export facility in Chesapeake where they are crushed for meal and oil. The meal is used to feed livestock and the oil is typically refined into vegetable oil for human consumption.”
“There are also soybeans that are grown for seed in Virginia,” Wallace added. “Once the seed is processed and containerized, the seed is shipped throughout Virginia and across the United States for production in the following year.
Other destinations include crushing facilities throughout the East Coast or exported from the Port of Virginia to destinations around the world. There is a small percentage of food-grade soybeans grown in Virginia, which are exported to Asia for human consumption.”
The American Soybean Association, citing USDA data said Virginia ranked 20th of all states in acreage planted in soybeans in 2020. Maryland ranked 22nd, with Delaware ranked at 26th among the 29 states listed as jurisdictions with soybean farming.