Louisiana’s overall feedgrain crop report has improved dramatically over the past four weeks. Rain was the main factor. Some areas are in better shape than others, but the overall situation has gone from fair to good.
For grain sorghum, USDA reported approximately 80,000 acres planted in Louisiana, which would be 10,000 fewer acres than were intended. The majority of the grain sorghum crop is concentrated in Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Rapides, and St. Landry parishes.
The crop looks better than most I can recall and yields should be very good. Some early samples have been taken and over 100 bushels to the acre will be achieved on a good portion of the crop.
The latest problem is some sprouting in the heads, but this appears to have stopped after the weather turned hot and dry again.
It appears test weights will be good on the few fields from which samples have been cut. At this point, I am very optimistic about the grain sorghum harvest.
According to USDA, 3000,000 acres of corn acres were planted in Louisiana, 12 percent below 2005. Corn is a little different story, but we should be all right when we begin harvest in the next couple of weeks.
I know of one field that has had a sample cut. The field is so far advanced because it is dryland and did not receive much rain during the growing season.
Black layer is fast approaching the vast majority of our crop and should be achieved in the next week or so. Some of the earliest harvesting should begin in about a week. Yield potential still looks decent.
Despite the drought conditions most of our corn endured this year, the overall yield potential is still good. Yields in some fields that did not receive adequate rainfall will be disappointing. Louisiana corn yields are generally around 120 to 130 bushels per acre and should be in that range this year. Irrigated corn will definitely outyield dryland this year.
Soybeans (820,000 acres statewide) have taken a turn for the better in that most of the rain we received over the past three weeks started falling when the majority of the crop was approaching R5. Beans have filled out adequately and our crop looks very good. Some portions of the crop did not receive adequate rainfall and will be harvested in the next couple of weeks.
Yield potential for the state looks excellent right now. Southwest Louisiana has even caught a break and got some rain and that crop looks good right now, too.
Disease control questions have been heavy as of late with downy mildew, aerial blight, and cercospera present in many fields. At this point in the season, producers who did not spray anything are regretting that decision because rains have caused some diseases to show up.
We are still recommending producers apply stroby-based products tank-mixed with Topsin-M at R3 for cercospera leaf blight if need be. This is our standard fungicide recommendation.
Regarding Asian soybean rust (ASR), the latest on the disease (as of July 14), is that we have four confirmations on kudzu in Iberia and Lafayette parishes only. At this point, no soybean rust has been found on any soybeans in the state of Louisiana. Therefore, no specific rust recommendations have been made.
According to Clayton Hollier, the soybean pathologist with the LSU AgCenter, recommendations will change accordingly if rust is found on soybeans. We urge farmers and consultants to take samples of anything suspicious to their local county agents. Also, the ASR hotline (800-516.0865) has the latest report on the disease’s progress.
There has been little insect activity in soybeans, which I hope will translate into improved yields. Over the past couple of weeks, the Louisiana stink bug complex (which includes greens, browns and red-banded) continues to be treated but at acceptable levels.
In addition to stinkbugs, three-cornered alfalfa hopper numbers are slowly beginning to escalate.
Harvest will be in full swing for soybeans, corn and grain sorghum over the next couple of weeks. I hope the yield potential we see will come to fruition when we put the combines in the field. It has been a long, strange, dry and difficult season. If we can come out on top of this one, it would be great.