Another factor working against soybean acreage in the Southeast in 2011 is the lack of available high quality wheat seed. Lacking confidence in wheat quality and subsequently risking high quality docks on pricing, many growers chose to avoid wheat in the fall of 2010. Fewer wheat acres will influence how many late, or double-crop beans are planted.

Nationally, primarily in the Midwest, there will likely be a reduction in soybean acres in 2011.

In the Southeast the picture is not quite so clear. North Carolina is the predominant soybean producing state in the Southeast with about 1.5 million acres annually. It’s not by chance that cotton acreage in the Tar Heel state fell from 2007-2009 and soybean acreage increased significantly in the same time frame.

As North Carolina goes, so goes soybean production in the Southeast. In 2011, it looks like they will follow the national trend on soybean acreage. Nationally, Midwest economists are predicting an acreage decrease for soybeans of 325,000 acres or about five percent below 2010 levels.

In the Southeast, the influence of cotton and to a lesser degree corn may result in slightly more decrease in soybean acreage than is expected nationally.

Having to choose among which of several profitable crops to plant is a good problem for Southeast growers — one they haven’t had the past couple of years.