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Contribution of Soybeans to Mississippi Agriculture

According to the 2017 MSU-DAFVM statistics, soybeans are a principal source of agricultural income in Mississippi. The following production summary of the state’s 2017 agricultural enterprises shows just how important a crop it is.

•   Soybean production produces the third most income of all agricultural enterprises in the state, following only poultry (including egg production) and forestry.

•   Farm gate value of soybean production in 2017 was $1.115 billion, which is 14.75% of the total 2017 farm gate value of all agricultural and forestry production in the state.

•   The farm gate value of soybean production exceeded the combined value of cotton, corn, rice, wheat, and sorghum in the state.

•   Soybeans are produced on more farms than any other crop in the state.

•   The 2017 Mississippi soybean crop yielded an average of 53 bu/acre, which is a state record and exceeds the national average yield of 49.1 bu/acre for the crop.

There is no doubt that sustaining this level of soybean production in Mississippi will require the constant investment in research that will provide the new genetics and production technology needed to sustain or hopefully improve the ability of the crop to withstand current and new biotic and abiotic stresses.

Soybean production is not evenly distributed throughout the state. According to NASS, soybean production in 2016 was distributed as indicated in the below table.


Distribution of soybean production in Mississippi in 2016.

Region–NASS district

(click here for map)







Delta–10 & 40




North Central/Central–20 & 50




Northeast/East Central–30 & 60




South–70, 80, & 90









From the above table, the following statistics were calculated.

•   70.4% of the state’s harvested acres were in the Delta.

•   75.5% of the state’s total production (bushels) was in the Delta.

•   Average yield from the Delta acres (52.1 bu/acre) was the highest of all regions, and average yield from the Northeast and East Central regions (34.6 bu/acre) was the lowest.

•   There are relatively few soybean acres (3.4% of total) in south Mississippi.

Soybeans will likely remain the dominant crop in Mississippi in the coming years and will continue to be a major source of income for the state’s agricultural producers. Thus, it is incumbent upon public researchers, private researchers and consultants, the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service, private industry, and the various federal, state, and private funding entities to increase their support of efforts that will solve the myriad problems that affect the crop, both now and in the future, so that this valuable commodity continues its strong position in the US agricultural sector.

Composed by Larry G. Heatherly, Feb. 2018,