“It’s a very exciting time to be a soybean producer,” says David Glidewell, Mid-South regional manager for ADM at Memphis.

“Thanks to some scattered showers over the past couple of months, we have potential for a good crop over much of the Mid-South, with soybean prices over $16, and at one time over $17 cash price for new crop beans,” he said at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and Mississippi Soybean Association joint soybean advisory committee meeting at Grenada, Miss.

“But, drive 80 to 100 miles north of Memphis, where the drought has been ongoing, and the difference is stark.

“It’s no big secret it’s very dry in central Illinois, central Indiana, and other areas, with some pretty dire situations. Southern Indiana, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, are among the toughest areas. North of there, in Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota, where they’ve had more rain, yield potential for corn and soybeans is better, although it has started to get dry in those areas, too.”

The severe drought, Glidewell says, “is being compared to droughts of 1988 and 1980, and some say it could be similar to 1952, when there was the drought of all droughts.

“We still have time to make a good crop — but if we get to Aug. 1 or Aug. 10 and the Midwest hasn’t had some rain to keep their crop meeting its potential, I think we’ll see higher futures prices.”

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Several factors have played a role in bringing the market to its current lofty level, Glidewell says.

“There’s the ever-increasing appetite for soybeans around the world, most notably in China. Then last year South America had a 20 million metric ton shortfall versus what had been anticipated for their crop, and that started soybean prices rallying.