Soybeans are attracting the same level of grower interest as corn in the Southeast this year, with continued strong prices expected to continue through the 2013 planting season.

“When you look at the prices we were projecting last year, it’s not too far from what we’re looking at now,” says Nathan Smith, University of Georgia Extension economist.

“There was a less than 8 percent probability we’d see the prices we saw in 2012. So we ended up with one of those rare years when we were fortunate to be in the South in terms of growing corn and soybeans because we benefited from the Midwest having a drought.”

Smith presented his soybean outlook during this year’s Georgia/Florida Soybean/Small Grains Expo held in Perry, Ga.

Georgia growers harvested record yields across the board in 2013, with more than 1,000 pounds per acre of cotton, 180 bushels of corn, 4,550 pounds of peanuts, and 37 bushels of soybeans, says Smith.

Corn continues to lead the markets, he adds, with oilseeds in second place. Predictions this year are for another boost in U.S. corn acreage.

“The U.S. increased soybean acreage by a little over two million to 77 million acres in 2012, notes Smith.

“Georgia bumped up to about 220,000 acres and Florida increased by about 17 percent to 21,000 acres. Georgia’s planted acres kept growing throughout the year, with some ultra-late beans being planted following corn.”

Record-high yields in Georgia compared to a third consecutive year of declining yields in the United States, he says.

“The last report raised the average U.S. soybean yield to 39.6 bushels per acre. That has created a somewhat tight situation again in soybean supplies.”