SC corn and bean acreage may increase if prices remain high

BLACKVILLE, S.C. – Corn and soybean prices are rising which means more South Carolina farming acres could be allocated for these commodities.

During the 2021 Clemson Extension Corn and Soybean Meeting, held via Zoom, Clemson Extension corn and soybean specialist Michael Plumblee told participants 2020 was one of the “most productive years” for corn in South Carolina. Soybean acreage and yields for 2020 also were strong.

“If prices remain high, I expect we could see acreage split about even between corn, cotton and soybeans,” said Plumblee, who was named Clemson Cooperative Extension Service corn and soybean specialist in December. “Depending on what happens with fertilizer prices, corn acres may not go up quite as high as they would have, but we’re competing with soybean acres and with $14 per bushel soybeans, a price we have not seen in more than four years. Still, I do believe acreage for both commodities will increase compared with the past few years.”

South Carolina had one of the best-yielding corn crops ever in 2020. Information from the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) for 2020 shows 400,000 acres of corn were planted, yielding an average of 132 bushels per acre.

A total of 310,000 acres of soybeans were planted, yielding an average of 35 bushels per acre and 190,000 acres of cotton were planted yielding an average of 778 pounds per acre.

Much of the state’s corn and soybean acreage is located on dryland. Timely rains helped create historical yields for farmers in 2020. To help farmers hopefully continue this trend, Plumblee said the Clemson Soybean Production Guide is being updated for 2021 and will be available online soon. An updated Corn Production Guide is anticipated to be available at the beginning of 2022.

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