Missouri farmers are running combines at full tilt to get their soybean crops in. The USDA says the yield is lower than first expected, but it appears beans are doing better than this year’s corn harvest.

Gene Danekas is the director of US Department of Agriculture statistics service for Missouri. He says more than half of Missouri’s soybean crops have been harvested.

Farmers in Missouri are pulling about 40 bushels per acre, which is less than first expected, but still good. The warm, dry weather this fall helped farmers harvest soybeans earlier than last year. Nationally, farmers are averaging about 44 bushels per acre.

Nationally, soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.5 billion bushels. China continues to purchase record levels of U.S. soybeans, especially amid a falling out with the South American soybean trade. China just lifted a six-month ban on Argentine soyoil shipments.

Soybean stocks of 35.4 million bushels on farms were up 1 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 116 million bushels, were up 12 percent from a year ago.

According to the USDA, 67 percent of the nation’s soybeans were harvested by Oct. 12. The warm dry weather this fall helped farmers harvest soybeans earlier than ever before.

Soybean yields are also predicted to break the record this fall. The USDA forecasts soybean yields to be 44.4 bushels per acre, which is up slightly from last years 44 bushels per acre.

“A bigger soybean crop means more surplus oil that can be made into biodiesel,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board Director of Sustainability. Missouri is the third largest producer of biodiesel in the U.S.

Southeast Missouri farmers say the cotton harvest should be finished within two weeks. The market is also showing cotton prices on the upswing for farmers who did not book their crop early. Those who irrigated their crops say the cotton harvest is better than they expected, and has certainly outdone their corn fields.

As for rice, also in Southeast Missouri, Danekis says it’s good, not great.

Jessica Machetta reports [Mp3, 1:21 min.]