Farmers have harvested most of the soybeans in north Louisiana, and the yields have been outstanding.  

“If it wouldn’t have been for the hurricane, we probably would have had record yields set in Louisiana,” according to LSU AgCenter soybean specialist Ronnie Levy. “We still may be able to do that, depending on some of these later soybeans and how they perform.”

About 40 percent of the soybean crop in Louisiana remains in the field. The soybean acreage in 2012 is 1.1 million.

About 5 percent of the acreage was lost to Hurricane Isaac, mostly in the southeast. Rains in the southwest are delaying harvest there.

Southern crops looking strong at harvest — photo gallery

“Producers aren’t able to get in to harvest them so they’re sitting in the field an additional week to 10 days. We’re seeing a lot of quality damage.”

Levy also said stink bugs have caused minor damage to fields because farmers weren’t able to apply pesticides before the hurricane.

The disease Asian soybean rust has shown up in later-planted soybeans, but Levy doesn’t expect major damage because of the disease in Louisiana.

“Most of those have been treated with fungicides that help reduce the problem with rust in the field.”

Despite problems, farmers should do well this year. Drought in other parts of the country has driven up soybean prices.  

“They’re probably the highest prices I’ve known of in my days of soybean production -- in the $17 to $18 per bushel range,” Levy said.

Other good news for growers is they now have access to soybean varieties better suited for the South. This is helping them achieve record-level yields.

“In the past, most of them were developed for the Midwest for different growing conditions, different diseases and different problems than we have in the South,” Levy said.

With good varieties and high prices, Levy expects soybean acreage to increase in Louisiana next year.