Whatever the final USDA soybean yield estimate per acre for Indiana for 2011 turns out to be in the final report in January, it will be just that- an average estimate. This may be one of those years where very few people hit the average. Most will be either below, way below, above or way above.
August rainfall and soil type seems to be telling the story according to reports from the field. Some areas caught rains in August. Soybeans tend to be better there. Where they did not, yields struggle to reach 30, then really struggle to get to 40 bushels per acre.
What caused yield loss? Many fields have plants that only put two to three beans per pod. Typically, there are many three beans per pod pods, and some four beans per pod. Monsanto continues to talk about five beans per pod in their Roundup Ready 2 Yield varieties. They did, in fact, report that one Hoosier farmer was willing to talk about finding five beans per pod in one of his Monsanto varieties. He farms in north-central Indiana.
At the other end of the spectrum, on soil with gravel at three feet or less, one farmer with irrigated soybeans was fairly happy with irrigated yields. But in the corners where water didn't hit, in his words, they were barely worth combining. In all likelihood, they may have paid the combine bill and that's it. With beans at $12 per bushel, figure that yield out.
Soil compaction from planting late last spring may have been one of the factors that did not play a big role in reduced yields. Soil compaction could have impacted some corn yields, but soybeans have more ability to fight thought the effects of soil compaction. Gary Steinhardt, Purdue University Extension soil scientist, says it's always been very difficult to prove soybean yield loss on soybeans, even when there was obvious soil compaction in the field. That's not the case for corn.