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Subject:  Re: China & soybeans Date:  9/27/2018  4:24 PM
Author:  waterfell Number:  544898 of 573228

With a tractor to replace horses and mules, the farmer needed far fewer people to work the land.

Progress continues to eliminate brawn jobs while creating brain jobs.


I looked at the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) statistics from the 1930s. Since the subject of this post is soybeans, I looked at the soybean production for 1938 and compared to this year's estimates. The soybean crop is more important today than in the 1930s. In 1938, only 3 million acres were harvested. This compares to 89 million acres today.

In 1938, the average yield was 20.2 bushels per acre. This year, it will be close to 51 bushels per acre. Improvements in farming techniques, including better machinery and improved plant varieties, have resulted in much more production per average acre of land.

1938 total soybean harvest: 63 million bushels
2018 total soybean harvest: 4.7 billion bushels

Recent trend in yield:


Corn is another important crop. There are actually slightly fewer acres harvested for corn today than in 1938. However, the yield per acre is much larger.

1938 average corn yield: 27.8 bushels per acre
2018 average corn yield: 181.3 bushels per acre

1938 total corn harvest: 2.5 billion bushels
2018 total corn harvest: 14.8 billion bushels

- Pete
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