BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana soybean growers have something to smile about. Yields are up, prices are good and quality is high. LSU AgCenter soybean specialist David Lanclos says the harvest, which is nearing completion, looks great.

"The reports, at least from a yield perspective, on the beans that have come out of the field have been fantastic," Lanclos said. "We've averaged anywhere between 30 bushels and 60 bushels an acre across the board on dryland beans and irrigated beans."

Those yields are fantastic, according to Lanclos, who says the quality of the beans also is great.

The LSU AgCenter specialist says most of the soybeans farmers have harvested so far have been ranked No. 1 or No. 2.

But the good news doesn't end there. Soybean producers had suffered the past three years because of dry weather and below-average prices. Now prices also are pushing back up.

"We've had a lot of guys that have booked a little bit over $6 a bushel over the past month or so. Getting $6 a bushel for beans — we haven't seen that in quite a while," Lanclos explained.

Over the past few years, soybean growers received between $5 and $5.25 a bushel. At those prices, farmers barely broke even. With prices near $6 a bushel and yields up, farmers can make a profit, Lanclos says.

Louisiana soybean producers planted about 800,000 acres of soybeans this year. Lanclos said that acreage could have been even higher, but weather conditions kept some farmers out of the fields at planting time.

"In many parts of the state, we were dry when the beans needed moisture the most," Lanclos explained. "In other parts of the state, when we didn't need any moisture, it wouldn't stop raining."

The crop was not affected by disease or insects until recently. But now, late in the season, some diseases have popped up, and stink bugs are infesting some fields.

"For the most part, if they attack early on they can cause a decrease in yield, but late in the season the stink bugs become a quality issue," Lanclos said.

Stink bugs pierce the seed pod on the soybean, and that reduces the quality of the bean.

Farmers have harvested all of the Group 4 beans. Group 5s should be finished soon.

Tobie Blanchard writes for the LSU AgCenter. 225–578–5649 or tblanchard@agcenter.lsu.edu.