by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Worm infestations and treatments continue through much of the region. Loopers are the main target in more areas this week, but the mix includes a wide array of species. Fall armyworms have built big numbers in pastures, lawns and field borders and have prompted some applications in soybeans.
Redbanded stink bugs are still slamming soybeans in the Midsouth.
Effects of this month's excessive rain and flooding in the Midsouth are becoming more apparent – both in south Louisiana and the upper Delta. Soybeans may have taken a bigger hit than rice, several of our contacts have said. The weather turned bad as more soybeans were at or near full maturity, so they could have been more prone to sprouting and rotting.
Flooding also took out significant soybean acreage. Louisiana State University estimates that the state's soybean farmers lost $46 million due to flooding and related crop damage. Very little of the 420,000 acres of soybeans in affected areas had been harvested before the excessive rain and flooding, according to Kurt Guidry, LSU AgCenter economist. In corn, the projected loss is $10 million. By contrast, losses in rice will run about $33 million. In the affected areas, 80% of the main rice crop already had been harvested.
Corn harvest has started across a wider area in the Midsouth where weather permits. A few early-planted soybeans could be cut as early as next week in the Missouri Bootheel. More rain is in the forecast over the weekend through parts of the Delta states.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist: "In soybeans we're still fighting an uphill battle with redbanded stink bugs (RBSB), and I'm told that dealers are almost out of acephate in north Louisiana. RBSB account for a large part of that usage, although some acephate is being tankmixed for loopers, whether or not that's the best approach.
"Dealing with RBSB has been complicated. They're quickly re-colonizing fields, and these constant, sudden showers have caused a good deal of wash-off before insecticides were rainfast. And with this amount of rain, soybeans are staying greener longer, which allows more time for stink bugs to reinfest fields.
"Soybeans in south Louisiana took a tremendous hit from the flooding. A lot of those fields were ready for harvest, if not already defoliated. Nothing good comes from 18 to 20 inches of rain falling on top of a mostly mature crop. We still have looper infestations throughout the state, and quite a few applications are being made. I suspect that people are now making as many treatments for loopers as they are stink bugs."
Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana: "Most growers either didn't start corn harvest ahead of all this rain or barely got into it. One grower maybe harvested 25% to 30% of his corn. We would mostly be through by now if the weather hadn't turned against us.
"We're now watching soybeans sprout in the pods. Hopefully, that's only isolated to beans that are ready for paraquat or close to it. Looper treatments are being made in some fields, while we're spraying stink bugs in others. In places, we're treating both, plus we're finding bollworms in some younger beans."
Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana: "Some people probably got halfway through corn harvest before the rain started. In this general area we got about 10 inches last week. Initial yields were lower than you want to see in the beginning, but a lot of that corn was hurt by early spring flooding. Yields did start picking up, and we've averaged 150 bu/acre on dryland, with 180 or better in places.
"With all the rain and constantly wet conditions, we've found a little sprouting in corn. But the ears looked good where I pulled back the shucks.
"Soybeans have taken a major hit from the weather. We're seeing 30% to 100% yield loss in some early beans, mainly due to pods rotting and some sprouting.
"In some later beans at R4 to R5 we're spraying for redbanded stink bugs. We've had a crazy year with velvetbean caterpillars (VBC) and have been spraying for them off and on. Control held on for a couple of weeks but we're treating some for a second time, which I don't think we've ever had to do with VBC. Plenty of VBC moths were flying around last week when I was sweeping."