AgFax Grain - Louisiana



With the persistent rain this spring, plenty of people were unable to plant all the corn they intended. How good corn looks now largely depends on how much it's rained since planting. Cool weather conditions also slowed emergence and crop development in places.

Soybean planting has stalled in some areas, as well.

Grain sorghum acres will be down in the South, partly because the crop didn't pencil out as well as other options. But weather-related delays also kept many farmers from planting as early as they would have liked. In particular, they wanted to gain a head start on sugarcane aphids and avoid extra insecticide applications. Once planting fell behind, at least some of those acres shifted to soybeans and maybe cotton.

Wheat conditions range from abandoned to okay. Wet weather and diseases have taken a toll.

Insect management in corn will be more complicated in Arkansas this year where more non-GMO corn has been planted. The poultry industry is paying a premium for non-Bt corn. Without that trait in place, southwestern corn borer management will hinge on scouting and treatments


Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana: "We're fertilizing corn as we can get into the fields and also deciding whether to keep some stands and, if not, then figure out what we'll plant in their place. We are killing some corn now. In other places, Roundup and atrazine are going out. Corn is getting too big in places to go over the top, so we're changing the plan there.

"A few guys with smaller bean acreage – say, 400 to 500 acres – have finished planting. Overall, 30% to 40% of our beans probably have been planted. Pigweed is coming up in places and marestail has developed in some locations where we didn't have it last year. I thought we would catch a break next week with the weather, but the last forecast I saw said that out of 5 days next week, 4 of them had a 50% chance of rain."

Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton And Corn Specialist: "With the heavy, extended rainfall this spring, we won't hit our projections on corn acreage. We expected 600,000 to 650,000 acres but will probably settle out at 450,000 to 500,000. Of the corn out there, some looks great and some looks bad.

"The northern part of the state, in particular, had more issues with rain, flooding, hail and wind. The only things we seemed to have lacked were drought, earthquakes and volcanoes. Most of the acres that weren't planted in corn will go into soybeans and we possibly add a few more acres to the cotton total.

"When it dries up we'll make nitrogen applications. Some people in northeast Louisiana have been talking about flying on a little nitrogen, although I don't know if anybody actually followed up on that. That's a tricky option when you fly it onto ground that's already saturated, so you have to wonder if you're throwing your money away."

Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana: "Corn has been planted, mostly twice. Some fields look good, others look yellow. We've had rain after rain after rain, and an estimated 1,200 to 1,400 square miles were flooded in February and March through this part of the country. I do think my growers managed to plant all the corn they intended to grow this year. With the corn, we're looking at flying on nitrogen in southwest Arkansas. As far as I know, my growers in Louisiana were able to get fertilizer out, although they may be behind on atrazine.

"The rain delayed grain sorghum planting to the point that we won't have any. Farmers were afraid that with later planting dates they would deal with more sugarcane aphids and end up having to treat them 2 or even 3 times.

"Maybe half of our soybeans have been planted. We are spraying some pigweed with Liberty in LibertyLink soybeans that aren't at the third trifoliate yet. The pre-emergence faded away and the rain prevented growers from making the next application, so pigweed emerged in that herbicide gap. Also, hogs have started digging up soybeans and in at least one field the farmer has had to replant 30 to 40 acres. A few cutworms have developed in soybeans, too. It's just a crazy year."