Jeremy Ross

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Soybean, Arkansas, agronomy, breeding, pest management, soil fertility, irrigation, economics


Arkansas is the leading soybean-producing state in the mid-southern United States. Arkansas ranked 11th in soybean production in 2021 compared to the other soybean-producing states in the U.S. The state represented 3.49% of the total U.S. soybean production and 3.49% of the total acres planted in soybean in 2021. The 2021 state soybean average yield was 52.0 bushels per acre, setting a new state record and surpassing the previous yield record of 51.5 bushels per acre set in 2020. The top five soybean-producing counties in 2021 were Mississippi, Phillips, Crittenden, Poinsett, and Arkansas (Table 1). These five counties accounted for over 35% of the soybean production in Arkansas in 2021.

Weather events during the early portion of the 2021 growing season were much improved compared to those during 2020. However, frequent rain events hampered preplant tillage and delayed planting for some portions of the state. On 19 and 20 April 2021, a cold front moved across the state and set daily record low temperatures for several locations in the state. Soybean planting during 2021 was ahead of the previous year and the 5-year average for planting progress. According to the 6 June 2021 USDA-NASS Arkansas Crop Progress and Condition Report (USDA-NASS, 2021), 86% of the soybean acreage had been planted as of 1 June compared to 75% and 81% for the 2020 and the 5-year average planting progress, respectively. With improved weather conditions and higher commodity prices, Arkansas soybean producers planted 3.04 million acres in 2021. This was an increase in acreage compared to 2020 and back to over 3 million acres planted compared to the last two years. The most significant event in Arkansas during the 2021 growing season was several rounds of heavy rainfall in southeast Arkansas during June. In 48 hours on 8 and 9 June 2021, Rohwer in Desha County received 19.22 inches of rain. This rain event was the second-highest 48-hour total on record in Arkansas. Approximately 600,000 acres of cropland in the southeastern portion of the state were affected by the flooding, with an estimated 300,000 acres fully submerged from 1 to 2 weeks. Most of the soybean acreage in this portion of the state was in early reproduction. Due to the flooding, many fields were abandoned or replanted. Yields were significantly reduced due to replants occurring in late June and into July.

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