News Filed Under Soybeans
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi farmers are expected to plant the same number of acres as they did in 2000, but the outcome should be drastically different.
The year 2000 was the last time the state's farmers planted as much as 1.7 million acres of soybeans. That year, the average yield was 22 bushels. In the last three years, growers have averaged 37 to 39 bushels per acre.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- It wasn't long ago that spotting the word “soy” on a food label meant a shopper had drifted into the health food section of the grocery store, but the ingredient shows up in mainstream products throughout those same stores today.
The humble soybean is grown mostly for its protein and oil. Mississippi producers plant more than 1.5 million acres of farmland to soybeans each year, and the crop is used in everything from catfish feed to biodiesel and ham.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Asian rust began demanding the attention of soybean growers across the South last year, but it is not the only disease producers must consider when growing the crop.
Soybeans began to receive more attention in the late 1980s when average yields finally rose above the low 20 bushels an acre mark. Mississippi State University research and support of the industry, funded in part by the Soybean Promotion Board, was largely responsible.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Before new soybean technologies arrived, soybeans were losing ground in the state, so Mississippi State University researchers looked for opportunities to improve this crop's potential.
In the 1970s and 1980s, state average soybean yields were 22 bushels an acre. Most producers kept this crop on heavy soil and grew it alone or rotated it with rice. Soybean irrigation was limited, and producers made few inputs due to marginal profits.
Today, soybeans are a viable crop in Mississippi. Last year, the state averaged a record 39 bushels an acre.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wheat farmers weighing their options for fall plantings are finding the scales tipping less and less toward double-cropping methods.
In June, Mississippi wheat growers harvested a slightly below-average yield after battling stripe rust and water-logged soils much of the growing season. Fields averaged 48 bushels per acre, five fewer than last year. The state's growers planted 110,000 acres of wheat and harvested 95,000 acres for the fifth consecutive year of declining acreage.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite the arrival of rust in the state, Mississippi's soybean crop needs only a couple of well-timed rains to finish off what could be one of the best crops.
On July 18, rust was confirmed in a sentinel plot of soybeans in George County. Mississippi State University Extension Service plant pathologist Billy Moore collected 15 leaves from this quarter-acre plot that were exhibiting vague symptoms of rust. The fungus was found on one leaf.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Asian soybean rust came to Zimbabwe in 1998, and researcher Clive Levy was on the front line battling the disease in commercial fields in that African nation.
Levy was in Mississippi in mid-June, searching for the disease in the state's fields with Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel. As of June 30, rust has not been found in Mississippi this year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Twenty-three sentinel plots circle the state, standing watch for the anticipated reappearance of soybean rust in Mississippi.
Soybean rust is a devastating fungal disease spread by spores. It can be carried by wind for hundreds of miles, transported on people or machinery, or spread by infected plant material. Left untreated, it completely defoliates and often kills a plant, reducing yields by as much as 80 percent. It was identified in the state Nov. 17, and already has been spotted this year in Florida and Georgia.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean growers will not be deterred by the threat of Asian rust or spring rains as they work to plant the 2005 crop as soon as possible.
Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers have been running later than last year, but not significantly off the five-year average.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Asian soybean rust did not cause the dramatic decline in acreage it could have, but its threat may have inspired a 13 percent increase in prospective cotton acreage.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual prospective plantings report March 31, and Mississippi producers indicated they will decrease soybean acreage 4 percent to 1.6 million acres and increase cotton to 1.25 million acres.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist with almost 20 years' experience working with the state's soybean producers has received the Mississippi Society of Agronomy's top honor.
Extension soybean specialist Alan Blaine was named the organization's Agronomist of the Year during the Feb. 15-17 Mississippi Crop College at MSU.
A native of McCool, Blaine earned a bachelor's degree in animal science and a master's and doctorate in agronomy at Mississippi State.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Agricultural producers from across the region will descend on Cleveland Jan. 18 and 19 for the most recent information on soybean rust, international cotton trade issues and other crop concerns during the 32nd annual Delta Ag Expo.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- East and east central Mississippi soybean and corn growers will gather on Dec. 16 at Mississippi State University to take part in the first production meeting since the recent discovery of soybean rust in the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Agriculture officials confirmed the existence of soybean rust in Mississippi Nov. 16 after the fungus was found in one field in Adams County.
Rust was confirmed in Louisiana Nov. 10, and officials immediately increased systematic efforts to search for the soybean disease in Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce announced its finding Nov. 17. Florida also confirmed rust on Nov. 17.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean rust, a devastating fungal disease, was discovered Nov. 7 in the United States, but officials have not yet detected it in Mississippi.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Wednesday that it had confirmed Asian soybean rust in two Louisiana State University research plots near Baton Rouge. The disease was spotted Sunday and officially confirmed three days later. This is the first appearance of rust in the United States, which previously had not been found closer than Central America.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi should produce its highest average soybean yield ever on a crop that was planted earlier than had ever been done before.
"This is the best crop per acre average on record," said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "Early planting got the crop off to a good start, we had a near-perfect growing season and we avoided late-season dry weather."
While there were areas of extremes with as few as 20 bushels harvested per acre, other producers "made yields they've only dreamed of," Blaine said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean yields that once would have seemed phenomenal now are a little disappointing for a Tupelo producer.
Keith Wiseman knows how to manage his crop the SMART way -- with the Soybean Management by Application of Research and Technology program. SMART is provided through the Mississippi State University Extension Service and funded by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board. Wiseman said he has seen dramatically increased yields on his 300 acres of soybeans since adopting SMART management techniques.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean producers are learning that planting fewer seeds can mean higher profits.
Rising seed technology fees are encouraging soybean producers to be frugal as they plant.
Soybean seed costs about $26 to $27 a bag this year, but there is speculation it will rise to as much as $35 as seed companies pass on a higher cost of research and development.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The battle against an inevitable soybean disease has begun in Mississippi, with researchers and specialists ready to attack rust once it appears in the state.
Soybean rust is a fungal disease spread by spores. It can be carried on the wind for hundreds of miles, transported on people or machinery, or spread by infected plant material. Left untreated, it completely defoliates and often kills a plant, reducing yields by as much as 80 percent.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's soybeans endured excess rains during the first half of the 2004 season and are plunging into the homestretch in surprisingly good shape.
"It is amazing how this crop has weathered the wet conditions. It helped that the bulk of the crop is early and has a more mature root system," said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "It remains important to identify any diseases quickly and determine the best way to address problems."