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• Among the primary crops planted in the Southeast, economists speaking at the Tennessee agricultural forum agreed that grain crops will likely remain a good crop for Southeastern growers, while traditional crops like cotton and peanuts may face a difficult time competing for acreage.
North Carolina a measuring stick
Again, using North Carolina as a measuring stick, soybean acreage in North Carolina in 2012 is projected to be more than 1.43 million acres.
For the 2013 season, acreage is expected to increase to more than 1.5 million acres.
Charles Hall, executive director of the North Carolina soybean growers Association, says optimism is high for the 2013 crop. He says extremely hot weather during part of the growing season in 2012, combined with the ideal moisture across most of the state, is proving to be a trade-off on yield, which will likely end up somewhere in the 30 bushel per acre range.
Barr says the soybean market is riding on a smaller South American crop and on U.S. production concerns for the drought stricken 2012 crop.
Since 2006 world soybean stocks are down 12 percent. More alarmingly, exports from major soybean exporters like Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and the U.S. are down an average of 35 percent.
Most economists agree this continued decline in soybean stocks worldwide should mean extended good prices.
Brazil and Argentina had a sharp increase (29 million metric tons) in soybean production in 2012 and U.S. production is expected to have a slight decrease.
Worldwide, soybean production is expected to increase by 11 percent for the 2012 production season, but demand will more than offset a one-year increase.
In the United States strong demand will absorb the smaller than expected crop, pushing stocks lower and domestic demand higher.
Whether the price of 2012 beans goes up or down will be driven by purchases made in South America and China, according to Barr. He says prices may be up or may be down, but almost assuredly will be high.
Declining soybean stocks will push soybean meal prices even higher, Barr says. Soy meal prices already are already up 45 percent over the past two years, he adds.
These high prices are already impacting livestock production in the Southeast and will continue to do so into the next year, the economist says.
A larger than expected world cotton crop in 2012, plus reduced demand is pushing cotton stocks up worldwide.
A significant reduction in cotton acreage in the U.S. as a whole and in the Delta and Southeast in particular, has not significantly affected global cotton supplies.