Soybeans are planted on more acres than any other row crop in Tennessee, with over one million acres grown annually (production map). Each year, soybeans rank in the top three for cash receipts for row crops. In 2009, Tennessee harvested a record soybean crop of 45 bushels per acre across almost 1.5 million acres. Statewide yields typically average from 32-42 bushels per acre.
Most soybeans are grown in western and middle Tennessee counties without benefit of irrigation and over 80% are grown in a no-till or conservation tillage system. Approximately 30% of soybean acres are double cropped after wheat. Less than 30% of soybeans grown are maturity Group III or V soybeans with Group IV varieties the predominant bean. Yields are heavily dependent on rainfall. About 15% of acres planted in 2012 was to Liberty Link varieties as a management tool for glphosate resistant palmer pigweed.
Early maturing varieties help producers spread risk associated with moisture availability and time of harvest, and allow soybeans to be planted as early as mid-late April, given optimal temperature and moisture conditions. The University of Tennessee continues to evaluate specialty soybeans to identify those that have the best fit for Tennessee conditions.