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What hope for double-crop soybeans?


What hope for double-crop soybeans?


Of US soybean plantings, some 5-10% are sown onto land newly-vacated thanks to the harvest of other crops, mainly winter wheat, rather than that which has lain empty all winter.


It might seem that the slow pace of the US winter wheat harvest means that these so-called double-crop seedings will add little to US soybean area this year.

But in fact, history suggests that sowings could prove relatively large.


Why double-crop?


Sure, the progress of winter wheat harvesting had reached 15% as of Sunday - the slowest on easily accessible data going to 1995 and well below the five-year average of 34%.


That means land tied up longer with standing crop.


However, history suggests that this has not in the end proved a bar to a decent level of double-crop soybean sowings.


Of the five slowest years for winter wheat harvest as of late June – 1995, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2013 – all but one, 1999, ended with double-crop soybean area (which is expressed as a percentage of total sowings) above the long-term average of 6%.


In fact, the highest-ever reading in this time scale, of 10%, was recorded in 2013. (The 1999 figure was 6%.)


By contrast, faster harvesting years have a knack for ending up with average, or below-average, double-crop soybean readings.


Keep eyes on the price


The implication is that US farmers could sow above-average levels of double-crop soybeans this year too.


Certainly, the weather looks like cooperating a bit more, with a warmer and drier outlook for many major US growing areas.


As to whether they take advantage of the improvement may depend on price.

In all the years cited above, soybean prices enjoyed a rally in late June-early July.


Look out for soybean price moves over the next couple of weeks as an indicator of double crop acreage this year too.

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