Over 280 growers, advisers and industry professionals gathered Feb. 4, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, Illinois for a day of learning and growth. Bryce Knorr, senior analyst with Farm Futures, kicked the 2019 Soybean Summit off with a look at the 2018 and 2019 soybean market.
Knorr noted that the historically high stock supply of soybeans, created by six years in a row of record harvests, will continue to lead to low soybean prices this year. Additionally, China’s reduced demand due to a slowing economy, tariffs and African Swine fever in their hog population will impact U.S. soybean prices.
Knorr shared positive news that there is not a debt crisis on American farms like there was in the 1980s. However, the present profit crisis means the best way to be profitable in the current climate is to increase yields and not from the market.
Following Knorr was second keynote speaker, Sean Arians from Graincoat, LLC. Arians message for listeners included evaluating risk tolerance in the three types of technology: business, agronomic and equipment. Each person has different levels of tolerance across each type. Arians also reminded growers to be patient when trying a new technology and communicate with experts to work out the kinks.
After Arians, the group split into breakout sessions for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. Breakout topics included:
Attendees came back together at the end of the day to listen to a Farmer Q&A session with growers Ken Franklin and Jerry Gaffner and consultants Kelli Bassett and Kris Ehler. The panel’s message for the audience was that soybeans are more resilient than people have given them credit for. Soybeans can be planted earlier than though possible and in cooler soil temps without negative defect.
“We’ve come so far so fast in Illinois,” Ehler said. “We can’t beat Iowa in football or basketball, but we can beat the socks off Iowa in soybean production.”
Scenes from the summit below.

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