Soybean farmers should know that the future holds many market opportunities, some unexpected, for their crops.

That was the message from five-year United Soybean Board (USB) member Jim Carroll at the Jan. 3 Tri-State Soybean Forum in Dumas, Ark. Carroll is a Brinkley, Ark., producer (3,000 acres of corn, soybeans, rice and wheat).

Carroll provided an update on what the USB has been up to.

First up was production research. “The last two years, the check-off has spent approximately $50 million on production projects, primarily with land-grant universities. That’s farmers’ money going into work to help us.

“For the five years I’ve been on the board, things have changed. When I first got on the board (Asian soybean) rust was a big issue. (Farmers) in the north farm differently than we do. They don’t consider some of our farming practices very economical or logical. But that’s changed since rust came into this country.”

 

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Following the arrival of rust, northern producer “wanted to connect with the South. We were their ‘buffer zone.’ If it hit us, they knew they’d be able to get prepared with fungicides.”

The rust threat has had one positive effect, said Carroll. “I think it’s has united all our land-grant universities and those who do research to grow closer. As you know, we’re not getting funding from the federal government … so we’ve come together.

“That’s come to a head – particularly with weed resistance. … The boys up north had only two rotations: corn and soybeans, atrazine and Roundup. Well, in the past year, I’ve been talking to some of them. I asked a buddy from Michigan if they had any resistant weeds coming on. He said, ‘A neighbor of mine bought (trucked-in) hay when the drought was on. Guess what? The next year, they had resistant Palmer pigweed.’”

This is all new to the region, said Carroll. “They just don’t know what to do. They’ve always just planted, sprayed” and let the crops grow. In the Mid-South, “we have to manage water and weeds and all the rest. They haven’t had to do that. But they’re getting ready to experience it in a big way.”