(LE MARS, IA) The drought has undoubtedly tested the strength of Iowa's soybeans; but the demand remains high for this hearty crop.
The drought has killed most of the corn crop here in Iowa and all over the Midwest. But, one farmer in Le Mars is desperately holding on to his soybean crop, in the hopes that Mother Nature will spare what he has left.
"The crop was under a tremendous amount of stress, and the less stress you can put on the crop, obviously the better its going to produce," said Gary Ellensohn, a soybean farmer in Le Mars, Iowa.
The dry conditions and lack of rain have stressed out Iowa's soybean crop. But luckily, unlike corn, August is the magic month for these beans.
"Beans are in their major pod set right now, filling pods, so if we can get some decent weather here, the next two or three weeks before harvest, to get some size in the beans, than stuff like that is going to help quite a bit," Ellensohn said.
He says if the demand for soybeans is high, and the price for soybeans continues to rise, he may see a better profit this year than last year.
That's because soybean prices reached a new record this morning at more than $17 per bushel, and Ellensohn says he thinks that number is climbing.
"Harvest last year, beans were about $11, $11.50, this year they're around $17, $17.50, projections are to probably go quite a bit higher than that yet. We're the only beans in the world right now, until the first of April next year," he said.
Ellensohn says if they can get half or even two-thirds of their crop, the high prices may help offset the drought damage. He says 90 percent of the farmland in Iowa is insured, which is a much larger number than during the drought of 1988.
"There's revenue products out there now, which guarantee not only bushels but dollars per acre, and guys can protect themselves pretty well, to at least pay bills and maybe put a little money back in their pockets. Insurance is not like having a crop, but it's a good crutch to fall back on," he said.
Ellensohn expects to get 35 to 40 bushels an acre this year - that's in line with the national projection. As for that record high price - soybeans peaked this morning, then fell back a bit as the day progressed, and traders cashed in profits.