by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
The prolonged wet-weather pattern in the Midsouth and south Louisiana has created a wide range of problems.
- Seed are sprouting in soybean pods, on corn ears and on rice and grain sorghum heads in areas with prolonged rain and humidity.
- Some fields have gone under water in south Louisiana and parts of Arkansas and southeast Missouri.
- In Arkansas, more flooding is expected as crests move downstream, particularly in the White River system, which also drains portions of southeast Missouri.
- Floods in south Louisiana rose high enough to seep into some grain bins, US Rice Producers reported late in the week in its newsletter, The Rice Advocate.
- One Arkansas Extension worker said that farmers were pushing hard to swap out tires for tracks on combines.
- Rains have made it tricky or even impossible to apply insecticides on soybeans for worms or stink bugs. Showers have been unpredictable, causing some washoff within hours of spraying.
Soybean harvest started ahead of the rains on limited acres in Louisiana. More fields have been desiccated in Louisiana and applications were either being made or planned elsewhere in the Midsouth.
Corn harvest continues in drier parts of the South. More will kick into gear in the Delta states once the weather clears up.
Worm pressure in soybeans has intensified across portions of the Southeast and Midsouth. Depending on the area, treatments have been going out for corn earworms, fall armyworms, soybean loopers and some assortment of beet armyworms, yellowstriped armyworms, velvetbean caterpillars and green cloverworms. Some slippage with corn earworms has been reported.
Redbanded stink bugs are building farther north in the Delta. A number of worm species also are appearing farther north than usual.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
David Kerns, Entomologist, Louisiana State University, Macon Ridge Research Station: "Loopers are coming into soybeans all over the state. South Louisiana already has been dealing with soybean loopers, but numbers began picking up last week in other areas. In some soybeans where we didn't see loopers last week the plants are loaded down this week. This weather system that caused all the flooding in south Louisiana pushed them north.
"Stink bugs persist. It's a mixed bag in north Louisiana. We're seeing greens in with the redbanded, plus some browns. The mix varies, and some guys actually have more browns. But as you go south the redbanded is the predominate species.
"Rain and flooding have clearly impacted crops. A lot of early-season beans are ready to be cut, and corn and milo harvest are on hold. Both yields and quality will suffer. We were set up for some excellent milo yields, but sprouting on the head has started. Even if the majority of Louisiana isn't flooded, this weather pattern will affect all of our crops."
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana: "I'm probably through with 25% of my soybean acres and have desiccated them. Some have been harvested, and yields have been pretty good – from 50 bu/acre to the lower 60s, with most of that dryland. We have more desiccation sprays lined up once the weather breaks.
"Our corn harvest is probably 40% complet. With all the rain and cloudy conditions lately, we're sitting and waiting now. Yields have been all over the board, from 150 to 200 bu/acre. Some early-planted fields are doing the best. Those survived the wet, cold conditions at the start of the season. Any thin stands that were kept are at the lower end of the yield range.
"Heavy looper pressure developed in soybeans, and all of mine were sprayed with Belt, Prevathon or Besiege. Redbanded stink bugs are causing us nightmares. We're far enough south to have them anyway, but we also haven't had a winter to speak of in a couple of years, so they've come on with a vengeance.
"It's almost like dealing with boll weevils in cotton before eradication. You'd better be on top of them with a treatment every 7 to 10 days. And we've been locked into all this rain for about 10 days, so it's been impossible at times to get anything out. Rain has been very unpredictable, so when we can spray, it might get washed off. We know the beans will sustain some damage, and in certain cases we may have to include an insecticide for redbanded with the desiccant."
Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana: "We've sprayed nearly all of our soybeans for loopers. This also is the hardest stink bug year I've seen in a long time. We're dealing with redbanded, which usually aren't a factor here. Where we haven't sprayed yet, we're making an effort to get it done. Overall, 90% to 95% of our beans have been sprayed for something or should be when possible.
"With loopers, I'm going with a 0.75 lb/acre rate of acephate with a 1:40 rate of Ammo. It's laying out both stink bugs and loopers. It's a pretty inexpensive approach. Right now I can't say how long it will hold, but we've been going by ground instead of air, and we can spray a couple of more times with that combination for less than what one treatment would cost with a high-dollar product."