Collage of soybean industry experts

Industry experts share projections for the year

February 7, 2022 | Bethany Baratta

From seed selection to marketing and grain storage to transportation, there are a myriad of factors farmers consider each year. We’ve asked experts in these areas to provide a snapshot of what’s in store for 2022 to help increase productivity and profitability for Iowa’s soybean farmers.

What can farmers expect for prices in 2022? What can farmers do to bulletproof their budgets this year?

“Soybean prices trended higher through the last quarter of 2021. This has been a ‘money flow’ dominated move, as speculators have targeted the soybean complex since mid-October. There are two primary fundamental drivers of the market, and they are at odds with one another. South American production estimates have started to come down from their record forecasts the past few months. The U.S. export program has underperformed and will be slowing drastically in the weeks ahead. Net effect, U.S. carryout levels are rising, lessening the need for any acreage increases in 2022. Growers should use this market strength to price remaining old and new crop soybeans.”

— Matt Campbell, risk management consultant for StoneX Financial Inc –FCM Division


What can farmers expect from the Iowa Soybean Research Center in 2022?

“Every year, we have a rotating set of farmers advising the center. For the new year, we’ll welcome additional industry partners. The highlight of the center’s calendar year is its advisory committee meeting in late summer. At the meeting, farmer advisors learn about new soybean research opportunities from ISU researchers and discuss funding priorities with industry partners. The meeting culminates in recommending specific research projects to support. Sometimes, the meeting gets really exciting because the farmers and industry representatives offer direction and suggestions for changes in the research so that the funded projects best fit the needs of the Iowa soybean farmers. I can’t wait to see what new research we will support in 2022.”

— Greg Tylka, director of the Iowa Soybean Research Center at Iowa State University


How can the checkoff and Iowa Soybean Association help farmers navigate 2022 and beyond?

“We must learn what our customers want and demand, and determine how we can best serve them. Whether it’s a soybean with higher soybean meal or oil content, or a soy-based product that fulfills a need, we need to be ready to pivot to seize those opportunities. This strategy doesn’t mean focusing solely on research or demand but looking at the chain holistically. ISA’s strategic focus areas of information and education, public affairs, supply and demand are interconnected, so we rely on these areas to help us as farmers be more profitable and productive.”

— Suzanne Shirbroun, ISA board member from Farmersburg


What do record crop yields in 2021 mean for demand for storage in 2022?

“We are anticipating and prepared for this to be a year of high product demand. Farmers need storage. We’re upping production, adding more bin lines and equipment, and investing in the most advanced manufacturing equipment. Last year, we expanded with two new sites in Hampton and Manly. Any time there’s a big bump in yields, there’s an expected increase for a place to put that grain, whether it’s on farm sites or commercially. We see grain storage as a big part of many customers’ profitability strategies. We don’t have any plans to slow down what we’re doing to get products out to those who need and want it, especially in the producer’s pursuit to preserve and protect a higher quality grain. In addition, the uncertainty we’ve seen in the supply chains during the pandemic has really only increased a desire for consumers and businesses to control their destiny. It creates an increased demand for farm storage.”

— Steve Sukup, CEO of Sukup Manufacturing Co.


What needs to be addressed in the soy transportation sector to aid farmers’ success in 2022?

“A follow-through in support and funding for infrastructure allocations. While it’s great when a piece of legislation passes and funding is allocated, we need to make sure it gets implemented in a way that’s going to be helpful. It’s important to include allocations for our inland waterway system, ports, railroads, roads and bridges, while making sure that the interests of urban America don’t exclude the interests of rural America. There needs to be a good balance between the two. While we actively support greater amounts of investment, we cannot simply consider the revenue side of the equation. We also need to focus on the cost side of the equation – ensuring good stewardship of taxpayer funding. Our efforts on rural bridges are an example of this approach. After 2021, Americans are increasingly aware that supply chains matter. If something goes awry at one critical juncture, the negative consequences can be profound. We must promote greater resiliency in our infrastructure.”

— Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition