Compared to last year, the 2010 early growing season “has been like night and day,” said Trey Koger, Mississippi Extension soybean specialist, in early May.
“It’s been much, much smoother. We’re probably 85 to 88 percent planted in the state. Last year, at this time, we were about one-third complete and had to replant a lot of soybeans.”
Currently, “we have had some issues in some areas of the state. There’s been some flooding — especially in northern Mississippi. A lot of the flooded acreage still wasn’t planted.”
Koger has seen some problems with beans emerging “that got locked up in the crust after a rain. That’s resulted in replanting or patch-planting in a few locations.”
There has also been some Valor damage. “That’s happened where producers put out Valor behind a planter. In sandier soils, where we got a rain as beans were coming up, there was some damage. For the most part, those fields will be okay.”
Pythium seedling disease is showing up in some Delta locations. “That’s happening even where good seed treatments were used. But as a result of bad weather, or other factors, we’ve seen some stand losses.”
Mississippi soybean fields are also experiencing a heavy dose of horseweed and ryegrass.
“The ryegrass problem is becoming worse. There are some good options for control. But our most consistent options still require catching the weeds early. If we let ryegrass get away, growers will reach a point where there’s nothing economical that will help a lot. We’ve got to do a better job of managing ryegrass using fall options.”
Horseweed is “really infesting the northern part of the Delta. Surprisingly, a lot of horseweed has just come up in the last couple of weeks. There’s a lot of small horseweed out there that will have to be dealt with.”
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Mississippi’s soybean acreage is down slightly from 2009’s near 2.15 million acres. This year, “we’ll probably be around 1.9 million acres. Cotton, rice and corn acreage have picked up a bit.”
What about conventional soybeans?
“We have conventional soybeans spread throughout Mississippi. The majority of them are in the hill country, though. There are a few reasons for that.
“One is hill growers are more likely to be their own neighbor. In other words, there are a lot of smaller, fragmented fields that are more conducive to growing conventionals. Growers do everything they can to keep glyphosate off them.”
There are some good conventional varieties available, said Koger. “The best for us is probably Jake, an excellent mid-Group 5 out of the University of Missouri. We’re still planting some Hutchison and Hornbeck. The seed demands are barely met.”
Koger finds it “kind of surprising” that growers are already picking up bollworms in some places. The pest has been found in “very, very small soybeans.”
“The USDA/ARS entomologists based in Stoneville, Miss., are running a lot of trap lines and screening a lot of crimson clover in ditches. They’re finding bollworms, as well.
“That doesn’t concern us too much at this point. But it’s something to definitely keep an eye out for.”