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Soybean crop looks good despite varying maturity
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Delayed planting and high summer heat have not kept Mississippi’s soybean crop from looking good as of mid-July, though fields ranged from just planted to nearly ready to harvest.
Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the crop was planted a little later than usual statewide, but many acres in northeast Mississippi were not planted until almost July.
“Big rains caused some stand losses, and those fields had to be replanted,” Koger said. “Our crop is in a wide array of growth stages, but I think it is a pretty good crop.”
The summer’s high heat and limited rain caused an excessive number of flowers and fruit to shed, but Koger said most fields have recovered from these losses.
“Soybean plants will shed naturally, regardless of the weather,” Koger said. “We get excessive shedding when temperatures are above 90 degrees, especially with warm nighttime temperature like we had in June.”
Parts of the state are getting dry, and continued lack of rain in the northern and central part of the state will soon cause problems for soybeans. Koger said about two-thirds of the state’s soybeans are irrigated. Almost all of the irrigated acres are in the Delta, which has not been overly dry this summer.
“The crop endured a lot of stress in June and early July from excessive heat and little rainfall, but it looks pretty good considering that,” Koger said. “We’re going to have to have some rainfall from here on out for some of the late-planted crop.”
Jeff Gore, a Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station entomologist at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said insect pressure has been low to date.
“We’ve seen a few insecticide applications for bean leaf beetles, but those were fairly few and far between,” Gore said. “Stinkbugs have been lighter than normal all year, but we’re starting to get reports of stinkbugs in soybeans from other areas of the mid-South. As the crop moves into pod development, we’re going to have to keep an eye on them.”
Gore said the late arrival of stinkbugs is probably the result of the cold winter, which killed many overwintering stinkbugs. It took more time this summer for stinkbug numbers to build to damaging levels.
Bollworms are becoming a problem in soybeans. They typically start in corn, then move into cotton and soybeans. This year, the row crops’ maturity levels aligned to provide ideal conditions for bollworms.
“We always have problems with bollworms, but it looks like we might have more problems than normal with them this year,” Gore said.
While it is much too early to estimate the season’s profitability, prices have improved. John Michael Riley, Extension agricultural economist, said soybean’s September futures contract was $9.87 per bushel in mid-July. Greenville reported a cash price of $9.66. Soybean futures prices have risen almost 8 percent since July 1.
“The market is coping with news on opposite ends of the spectrum and apparently is latching on to the good news, likely due to the fact that corn prices have been improving,” Riley said. “A recent report that China is back in the market for soybeans should bode well for what is expected to be the largest crop on record.”