by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Soybean loopers and stink bugs are the main players in soybeans now. In places, the pests have slipped into the background, either because populations declined or because most fields are no longer susceptible. But in parts of the region one or both of those insects has surged a bit in late fields.
Redbanded stink bugs continue to dog soybeans in the lower Midsouth, although treatment levels have turned up as far north as central Arkansas.
Biological control – either fungal or viral infections – have worked over some pest populations. But no big waves of disease have been reported. In places, more beneficial insects are moving into soybeans.
Soybean harvest is expanding into early-planted beans in southwest Georgia. Midsouth soybean yields sound mostly good. But the heavy rains in August, plus flooding in parts of Louisiana and Arkansas, caused varying levels of damage in soybeans, grain sorghum and corn.
Corn harvest is progressing through more of the South. Dryland yields range from poor to great, depending on when and how much it rained. Some shortfall in yields also has been attributed to thin stands where water stood too long during wet spring weather.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS:
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana: "Growers are cutting soybeans. We had somewhat held off on paraquat applications ahead of all the rain, which seems to have been a good decision. Maybe the extra leaves on the plants protected some pods. With the first round of beans we cut – some of the April-planted fields – damage was pretty low and yields were very good – up into the 80 bu/acre range. That was on about 2,000 acres on one farm.
"As you move into areas in both East Carroll and West Carroll Parishes, you see a lot of beans that sprouted in pods. That's heartbreaking. Some of those beans have been cut, with damage in the 10% to 12% range. They're still deliverable, but we did lose some yield and/or quality. Dryland soybeans are cutting in the 40s and 50s on somewhat heavier dirt. Irrigated beans right now are going in the 70s and 80s, and that's a lot to be happy about.
"I am worried about later beans. Stink bugs – particularly redbanded stink bug (RBSB) – have been horrible. With all the rain, we couldn't gain decent control in many locations. Rains delayed treatments or washed off materials 2 or 3 hours after applications. So we weren't gaining an effective kill for any amount of time and never had a prolonged period when redbanded were under threshold. We're seeing that damage now in fields that haven't been prepped yet for harvest.
"RBSB have been a game-changing insect. Things will get even more complicated if or when we lose effectiveness with some of the chemicals we're now building our control programs around. We're spraying so much that it's hard to believe that we won't run into that with RBSB. And with RBSB, you reach a point that fields must be scouted twice a week like we would with cotton. Things can change fast with this insect, and once a week isn't enough.
"We're finished with loopers. Some fields were sprayed twice, which is a little uncommon here.
"We're probably half done with corn harvest. Yields are all over the place. We're probably 15% off our all-time best averages, but a bunch of irrigated corn is cutting 190 to 200 bu/acre, so I'm still pleased with how the year is going. On the other hand, there's still not much money to be made with 200-bushel corn at $3 a bushel. People are in the early stages of planning for 2017, and my cotton growers will have more cotton. A couple said they will double cotton acreage next year."
Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana: "As of Sunday (9/4), all of our corn had been harvested. With the rains in August, we sustained weather damage. That included sprouted kernels. Most corn remained standing. Where we harvested corn before the flooding, it did really well. After the flooding corn still did alright, but you could tell it had been damaged.
"Even though it kept raining and fields were wet, growers pushed to get corn out before anything worse happened. Most of the rutting this season has been in corn fields, and in several instances combines got stuck.
"Beans also sustained a good bit of damage. A lot of our late MG IV beans received a harvest aid before the flood, then couldn't be cut when they were ready. Some of those fields still haven't seen a combine. Where growers could cut in the last week or so, damage levels ran 8% to 40%. Some beans have been in standing water or went under water in places. With all the rain, there simply wasn't anyplace for the water to go. This isn't a pretty sight.
"More paraquat is going out in the next few days, weather permitting. Our MG Vs are nearing maturity. Most of our beans on higher ground should be alright.
"We're still dealing with treatable numbers of stink bugs in places. Toward the end of last week we still had to contend with a few soybean loopers on later beans, although I think loopers are behind us now. Foliage is toughening up and isn't very appetizing to loopers. With stink bugs, the mix is mostly redbanded, with members of the brown stink bug complex, as well."