Drought an added threats for Missouri soybean farmers

August 10, 2018 GMT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Soybeans have been caught in the crossfire of escalating trade tensions, with retaliatory Chinese tariffs on U.S. soybean exports causing particular concern among American growers.

But in Missouri, tariffs aren’t the only issue for soybean farmers. Growing conditions have also stoked worry, with localized drought threatening to put the state’s growers at a disadvantage.

Of the 10 leading states for soybean production, Missouri has the worst current crop conditions, with about 47.7 percent of its crop in good or excellent condition, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“This year, it looks like a lot of states will have good production, which will help keep prices low, which will hurt Missouri farmers with below-normal production,” said Robert Garino, the Missouri statistician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

“The last time we had a drought, in 2012, Missouri yield was about 25 percent less than it would be in a normal year,” Garino said.

That could add up to a worst-case scenario for Missouri soybean growers, Garino said: drought causing lower production locally as overall U.S. production remains solid.

“That means prices stay low and Missouri producers have less production,” he said. “So the total dollars they receive for their crop is low.”