More corn is at tassel in the lower South, with a little of it at least approaching brown silk. In soybeans, blooms are beginning to appear on early-planted soybeans in Louisiana.
Wheat harvest has started in Louisiana and maybe by now in Georgia. No yield reports but hardly anybody expects strong averages on a broad basis, considering all the rain since the crop started.
Insects are ramping up in corn. With this year's weird weather patterns, people in the field are finding pests in places where they typically don't turn up much.
Soybean planting continues. More MG IV beans are being planted this year in the Southeast, continuing a trend started a couple of years ago to grow at least a few more acres of the early maturing varieties and plant them early. Essentially, this parallels the accepted approach in the Midsouth. Interest in early-planted MG IVs took shape when a handful of growers in Georgia began ringing up triple-digit yields.
Redbanded stink bugs appear to be building early populations in north Louisiana, which could lead to more pressure later in the year in other Midsouth states. See comments by Louisiana's Sebe Brown.
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist: "Southwestern corn borer numbers are pretty much nonexistent in our traps, and they've generally been low over the last 4 to 5 years. That doesn't mean you shouldn't scout refuge corn for borers. The trick is to detect them early before they bore into the plant. After that, there's nothing you can do.
"Our soybeans, like our cotton, have been plagued with cool temperatures that stalled out growth. And like the cotton, soybeans have attracted thrips in places. We can find some injury and more numbers of thrips than you would expect where a seed treatment was used. On the other hand, some growers didn't go with a seed treatment and those beans have even more aphids.
"People want to know if they should treat. Generally, no. In soybeans it takes severe injury and stand loss to justify spraying thrips. And if you use a broad-spectrum insecticide you can set back beneficials and open yourself to pest issues almost to harvest. Be patient. With warmer weather, soybeans will grow past thrips and you shouldn't see any yield differences where treatments weren't made.
"We are finding a lot of redbanded stink bugs in clover and other weeds where we're sweeping. We've been finding them in parts of north Louisiana since March. It wouldn't be unusual to find this much activity in south Louisiana right now, but this it's a bit out of the ordinary up here. Folks in north Louisiana, south Arkansas and adjoining areas of Mississippi probably should brace themselves. Things might change, but this seems to be setting us up for a pretty rough year with redbanded."
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana: "After what probably was the wettest spring here in 500 years, we need rain and growers are starting to irrigate some corn. A modest amount of tasseling has started. A lot of tassels are short this year, which indicates how much stress plants have been through, plus we've got shorter internodes.
"The crop is starting to shape up now that conditions have somewhat improved and even the replanted acres from last month are taking hold. We're finding common rust in corn but nothing that we would even consider treating.
"The biggest issue with soybeans has been cleaning up fields so we can plant. It's been a complicated year with herbicides ahead of beans. In places, planting was delayed to the point that burndown applications broke. Also, wet weather and the push to plant corn kept some growers from being timely with herbicide applications in soybeans. We've been coming back with some hot and costly tankmix applications to regain control in problem areas and we'll probably have to battle a few more pigweeds than we would if crops had been on a more normal schedule.
"At this point, we need rain to activate our pre herbicides. Some treatments went out before Mother's Day and a lot of those fields haven't had a rain since then. We desperately need showers right now (5/17)."
Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana: "If the forecast holds, we have a chance of rain every day for the rest of the week, and we need it. A lot of soybeans were planted recently on heavy ground. They went into moist soil but the furrow opened as it got drier, so we need the rain where seeds didn't germinate.
"Our early beans are in bloom and look good. Those are early MG IVs. Even though they're at R2, they're only at 6 nodes. We also have soybeans that are still in the bag. What little wheat we have this year has either just been harvested or will be in the next day or so. No yields yet. Our oldest corn is just getting into pollination pretty good. Our youngest is at 7 leaf collars."