However, the high price of soybeans at planting time this year likely influenced many growers to put soybeans on better land. The combination of a good mid-summer weather pattern, better soil, improved soybean production technology and the tendency to increase input costs relative to crop value indicate yields could go up significantly this year.

There are some cards on the table turned up, and they don’t do anything to dampen the optimism of any farmer with soybeans in the ground.

The remaining cards to be turned over are a little less of a sure thing, but still there is little to indicate the final price of beans will be anything less than a record.

Soybean prices topped $15 per bushel in mid-August, and based on crop reduction in the Midwest and other areas of the world, it appears prices will remain good, providing growers with even more incentive to harvest all the beans they possibly can later this summer and into the early fall.

Even a 25 bushel per acre yield, plus the base differential paid locally for beans, could mean per acre soybean gross income potential of $400 per acre. On higher yielding acreage, especially under irrigation, the per acre gross potential could top $1,000 per acre.

Combine that income potential with 80-90 bushels of wheat, which were common in some parts of the Upper Southeast this year, and the per acre yield potential for the double-crop season could be in excess of $1,600 per acre.

Though rainfall in some parts of the Midwest may have saved some of the soybean crop this year, several grain market analysts say don’t believe all you hear from USDA projections.

When the USDA released its World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates in August, it pegged the U.S. soybean crop at 3.05 billion bushels, or about 40 bushels per acre on 76 million acres nationwide.

If growers across the heart of soybean country in the U.S. accomplished this yield, it would result in a drop of the average per acre yield of soybeans in the U.S. by just one bushel per acre.

Unlike most growing seasons when the size of the soybean crop is largely established during the last week of July through about the third week in August, this year's crop went into the ground 2-3 weeks early, especially single-crop beans in the Midwest.

The earlier than normal planting date put soybeans in critical pod setting stages of growth during some of the most adverse weather conditions in the Midwest in half a century.

In a mid-August USDA crop progress report, 36 percent of the entire U.S. soybean crop was already setting pods as of July 22, compared to just 13 percent of the crop at the same date a year ago.

The hardest hit drought states from east to west are Illinois-Indiana-Iowa and Nebraska. Those state make up about 40 percent of the total soybean crop in the U.S.