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Soybean seed costs soar over decades

Soybean seed costs soar over decades

By Jamie Martin

The Economic Research Service (ERS) reveals that soybean seed costs per acre have risen sharply since 1997. In 1997, U.S. farmers spent an average of $19.72 per acre on soybean seeds, compared to $71.03 per acre in 2023.

Much of this increase occurred between 1997 and 2010, with seed costs rising by 200%. Technological advancements, such as changes to planting methods and improvements in seed quality, have been key drivers of this trend.

The introduction of genetically engineered soybean seeds in the mid-1990s significantly contributed to the rise in seed costs. Adoption rates of these seeds increased rapidly, reaching 60-96% by 2002.

While total soybean production costs have also increased by 157% since 1997, the rise in seed costs has been particularly notable.

Technological advancements have brought about efficiencies in soybean farming, but they have also resulted in higher input costs for farmers. Despite these challenges, innovation in seed technology remains vital for agricultural progress.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-zoran-zeremski.

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