While not unscathed, Mid-South soybeans appear to have escaped the ravages of drought experienced in the Midwest.

“Overall, harvest is going great” says Ronnie Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist.We’re close to 75 or 80 percent done. We’re a little behind in the southern part of the state where they typically plant a bit later bean.

“Right now, I’m in a field around Alexandria looking at some beans with wonderful quality. We did have some rain in the last week that may have reduced the quality of a few beans because they were ready and the growers couldn’t harvest them.”

Another 10 days, or so, of good weather and the Louisiana soybean harvest should be finished.

The newer varieties have largely lived up to the hype, says Levy. “Our yields have been extremely good in most areas of the state. Where there is irrigation and/or favorable environmental conditions, we averaged yields in the upper 50s to the lower 90s. Most of the state has seen 50-plus bushels. As whole, we’ve had an excellent year, have increased acreage and expect that to continue in coming years.”

Of course, there are unfortunate exceptions. “It seemed it rained almost every day in areas in the southwest area of the state. Those beans are primarily plant flat and in those continuous rains some of the farmers actually lost acreage.

“Other areas were hit with significant drought and some beans were ready for harvest just prior to the hurricane. So, there were losses associated with those events.”

In Arkansas, Jeremy Ross, Extension soybean specialist, admits to moments of nervousness during the growing season. However, despite “the awful environmental conditions this year, it appears the Arkansas soybean crop will fare pretty well. Right now, the USDA has us tying the record for state average at 39 bushels per acre.

“Early on, I thought that kind of yield was possible. Then, we hit the middle of April and the rains shut down followed by record high temperatures in June and July. That changed my positive outlook.

“I was very concerned, especially once August hit. Farmers were completely out of water. They rely a lot on surface water, recovery systems, ditches or bayous. August rolled around and their reservoirs were dry, ditches and bayous are pumped down.”

In isolated cases some farmers walked away from fields because they didn’t have the water to finish the crop.

“Where there was water, though, we’re seeing some exceptional yields. The southern part of the state is almost done harvesting beans. Harvest is moving north and, in total, we’re about 50 percent done.”

Ross has heard of “some phenomenal yields. It isn’t uncommon to hear reports in the 50- and 60-bushel range. There are plenty of folks with yields in the 70s and 80s, as well. That should help us meet that USDA prediction.”

Is anyone flirting with the 100-bushel mark?

Following initial reports out of south Arkansas, Ross was “hoping someone would do it. Now, though, if someone was going to hit 100, I’d probably have heard about it. If it was going to happen, it would have been in the early-planted beans. I have heard of a few in the 90-bushel range for the yield challenge.”