Alabama’s soybean crop hasn’t escaped the ravages of a hot, dry production season, says Dennis Delaney, Auburn University Extension soybean agronomist. “It has been a dry year, and we’ve had a lot of reports of soybeans shedding pods and blooms. This is a function of high temperatures and especially high nighttime temperatures. We’re not getting the rainfall and soil moisture to cool the leaves, and soybeans will shed. If we get rain later on, some of this crop might come back. But in a lot of places, they’re setting half a crop. We don’t know if they’ll bloom again and set a crop later on,” he says.

The dry weather has led to fewer disease problems than last year, says Delaney. Asian soybean rust hasn’t been as severe in recent years as was originally feared, he says.

As of mid-August, it had been confirmed in three counties in south Alabama — Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia. “Soybean rust doesn’t like high temperatures or eight full hours of sun. It can infect the plant, but it doesn’t always release new spores. It keeps growing within that leaf until we finally do get some cloudy, wet days. Then it explodes and can spread quickly, usually in mid-August and early September. So late beans would be the most at-risk this year,” he says.

Soybeans that have received rainfall or irrigation and have yield potential should be protected. “For these soybeans, we still recommend putting out a strobilurin fungicide at about the R3, R4 stage. These are preventative fungicides intended to be applied before you get disease and rainfall,” says Delaney.