Several afternoon thunderstorms in the last week of August delayed harvest of soybeans, corn and grain sorghum by as much as a week in some portions of Louisiana. The rain was needed in much of the state — and more is needed, especially in southwest Louisiana — but it has delayed harvest.
Grain sorghum acres were down to 100,000 acres in Louisiana this year. Yields were down about 20 percent. Most yield reports are in the range of 50 to 80 bushels per acre. Yields were higher in some fields, but overall the excess rain was detrimental to sorghum yields.
Corn harvest is almost complete, with approximately 90 percent of the half-million acres in the state already harvested. We should have finished harvesting, but harvest equipment is being shared over multiple crops.
Yields are down slightly this year — 10 to 15 percent on average. Some fields in northeast and northwest Louisiana have yielded more than 200 bushels per acre. Those corners of the state received less rainfall than central and southern Louisiana.
Across the state, average yields are 90 to 130 bushels per acre. We were very concerned about the impact excessive rain could have on corn yields, and we now see the effects now as harvest continues.
We've contended with lodging and rotting stalks. Several producers were not pleased with the ability of several hybrids to weather the excessive rainfall. Many told me they plan to switch hybrids in the future because of this.
Many of the hybrids that lodged were high-yielding, so I urge producers to look at the whole picture. 2004 was an odd year for rainfall. I hope we will not see another one like it for quite some time. The point is: yield potential still should be the primary consideration when making hybrid selections.
Harvest of Group 3 and Group 4 soybeans for August delivery has ended. Yields were mixed and ranged from 20 to 60 bushels per acre. Louisiana soybean acreage this year is 1.07 million, about 270, 000 acres more than last year, with most of the increase in the early beans targeted for August delivery.
Harvest of later-planted soybeans will begin soon. If we keep insects and diseases under control, yields should stay in the range of 30 to 50 bushels per acre.
Extension's soybean, corn and grain sorghum demonstrations that have been harvested. Information is available at the LSU AgCenter Web site, www.lsuagcenter.com under Crops.
David Y. Lanclos is the soybean, corn and grain sorghum specialist at LSU AgCenter. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org