Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on May 2, 1997. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Farmers Maintain High Soybean Expectations
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean growers remain optimistic about the state's 1997 crop despite cool, rainy weather conditions that have been less than ideal for planting.
Dr. Alan Blaine, extension soybean specialist at Mississippi State University, said rain several weeks ago concerned growers, but after it stopped the ground dried so quickly that some farmers planted their first soybeans in dry soil.
"We were hoping for rain to wet the ground a little bit, and when it started again the last weekend in April, we got more than we needed in some areas of the state," Blaine said.
Soybean farmers are hoping for clear, sunny skies with some timely rainfall to help them get planting in full swing.
Ann Ruscoe, extension agricultural agent in Coahoma County, said her region has received more than 20 inches of rain since January.
"We've gotten much more rainfall than normal this year, and it has slowed preparations for planting considerably. Current rains have halted soybean planting until we can return to drier fields," Ruscoe said.
Although planting has gotten off to a slow start, the outlook for the soybean crop remains promising, said Robert Martin, area soybean agent for Issaquena, Sharkey, Washington and south Bolivar counties.
"Heavy rains and flooding in the state have not yet had a negative effect on the crop. Standing water is beginning to go down, temperatures are warming up and planters are waiting for ground to dry out before proceeding," Martin said.
Planters aren't far behind schedules because it is still early in the season. Martin added that the state's 1997 soybean crop has very good potential.
"With the increase in prices, which are expected to be about $7 a bushel compared to last year's prices of about $6.50 a bushel, I expect Mississippi to harvest a larger crop than in recent years," Martin said.
Blaine said soybeans in northern regions of Mississippi have fared best in the past few weeks because they received the least amount of rain.
"North Mississippi got about an inch and a half of rainfall. Many regions in the central and southern areas of the state received much more precipitation, which was hard on the planted soybeans," Blaine said.
Most of the soybeans planted in Mississippi now are early maturing varieties.
After the ground has dried enough for farmers to proceed, planting will continue through June, with some soybeans planted after the wheat harvest.
Blaine said he expects Mississippi to plant about 2 million to 2.1 million acres in soybeans this year. He said the state has already planted 20 to 25 percent of the crop. Last year, the state harvested 1.8 million acres of soybeans.
"A lot depends on the weather, but time will tell how our soybeans turn out. So far, we're in good shape and on schedule. As long as the rain stops enough to let the soil dry, the sun starts shining and we get some timely showers, the outlook is real good," Blaine said.