- Associated Press - Thursday, April 26, 2018

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Soybeans were the most profitable crop for some South Dakota farmers in 2017 for the fifth year in a row, according to a new report.

The South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management examined the records and farming practices of about 75 member farmers and ranchers statewide, the Capital Journal reported .

The center found that soybeans averaged a net return of $38 per acre last year. Farmers saw a drop from the $96 per acre net return in 2016, but soybeans still proved to pay off the best in the state.

The total cost of producing an acre of soybeans declined by 5 percent last year. Surpassing corn acres, South Dakota saw a record 5.7 million soybean acres (2.3 million hectares) last year, according to Lori Tonak, an instructor for the management program.

Farmers saw an improvement in corn last year compared to 2016, but still experienced losses. Corn’s net return was minus $7 per acre in 2017, which is better than minus $19 per acre in 2016, said William Walter, the program’s director.

“It may seem odd to get excited about ‘less’ loss, but it represents an improvement,” Walter said.

The average return on winter wheat harvested last year was minus $32 per acre, which could affect farmers’ planting plans this year.

“There will be some serious review by some producers,” said Reid Christopherson, executive director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission. He predicted farmers will likely choose to plant beans, corn or sunflowers, rather than wheat.


Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, http://www.capjournal.com

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