Last year’s wet weather and the rain, sleet and snow have not adversely affected the quality of soybean seeds for 2010 crops.

“The seed companies are saying there will be plenty of quality seed, and the seed division of the Arkansas State Plant Board reports the soybean seed quality for the state is good as well” says Jeremy Ross, soybean agronomist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

“What the companies are cautioning, though, is certain varieties of soybean seeds may be short. This means if you raise soybeans for a living, you may want to get your favorite variety now to make sure you can plant it later.”

Extremely wet weather damaged much of the first-harvested 2009 crop. Fields planted later were not as affected because they were ready for harvest after the rain slowed to a stop in October.

In a state where farmland covers about half of its area, agriculture accounts for 10 percent of the gross state product, and soybeans are the second most valuable crop. Making sure the seed will produce is vital, particularly in 2010.

“Soybean seeds are expensive so making sure you get good information on the quality of seeds you plan to plant well help you avoid a smaller yield or even having to replant,” Ross says.

“The good news is economists are predicting the price of soybeans will be stable. We had 3.4 million acres of soybeans last year, and the prediction for this year is to stay about 3 million. Every year, the biggest concern is the unknown commodity price of soybeans. Even though Brazil produces a lot of soybeans, and they have a good crop right now, farmers in Arkansas should do fine.”

In its March 31 forecast, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) forecast 3.3 million acres planted in 2010, down slightly from last year’s 3.42 million. Nationally, NASS is forecasting 78.09 million acres of soybeans, up slightly from 77.45 million last year.