October 16, 2021

Soybeans take off after early, cold start

CARBONDALE, Ill. — No matter when they were planted, soybeans in the southern part of Illinois are looking good as harvest draws near.

“We have been fortunate that we have been catching rains and have had pretty favorable growing conditions here throughout August,” said Jamie Horton, DEKALB Asgrow technical agronomist for southern Illinois.

Many of the first-crop soybeans in the southern part of the state were planted earlier as more farmers embrace that practice.

“We had quite a few beans that were planted early. I would say many more beans were planted early this year versus in the past. I think the conversations, whether that’s with academics or with others in the industry, have finally kind of hit home throughout my geography, and many growers wanted to get out and plant soybeans early. Those beans are definitely progressing right along,” Horton said.

For the growers who plant second-crop soybeans after wheat, those soybeans have faced almost ideal conditions from the start.

“The double-crop soybeans do look really good. They have had rain throughout their life cycle, and we had folks spraying fungicide right up until the second week in August on those double-crop beans because they look so good, so we are hoping to finish the year strong with those double-crop beans,” Horton said.

One drawback this year to planting soybeans earlier than usual was cooler, wetter conditions. That means variability could be a factor in some fields.

“Early on in the growing season, a lot of this territory had heavy, heavy rainfall. Early in the seasons we did see some soybeans suffer due to being waterlogged and sitting in saturated soils, and that was through most of my territory. In some of those cases we did see some phytophthora root rot. Then, in some of the drier conditions, we did see spider mites. There is a lot of variability out there, but I would say, overall, our soybean yields do look very good,” Horton said.

Time To Scout

When it comes to diseases this growing season, that early planting means some late diseases may be occurring. Horton said it’s important for farmers to do scouting now to prioritize any fields that may be suffering from some late-season diseases.

“In those first-crop beans we are starting to see some diseases pop up, mainly SDS, sudden death syndrome, and that goes back to folks who were planting soybeans extremely early. When we planted, we planted into a lot of cool and wet conditions, so we were pretty primed to see some sudden death. There is also a little bit of brown stem rot out there. I have been encouraging folks to split stems and get out of the truck and get in the fields and do a little bit more to diagnose those issues,” she said.

Horton added that many of those later season conditions can resemble one another from a distance, which is why it’s important to get hands on with plants that clearly have been impacted.

“Once you start getting into some of those foliar responses, especially interveinal, it can start looking like a lot of different things, whether it is fungicide response or SDS, brown stem rot, stem canker, it all starts looking pretty similar. I have had a lot of calls around that symptomology,” she said.

Looking Ahead

While little can be done for those plants now, Horton said she is having conversations with growers and making plans for next year and ways to tackle those disease issues before they occur.

“On some of these things, a timely harvest will help, but I would say it’s more of a conversation about what can we do next year to stay ahead of it, whether that is a seed treatment or a specific soybean variety, to be prepared for those issues in future years,” she said.

Horton said one factor of earlier than usual planting for soybeans can be issues with SDS and that is something she wants growers to be aware of as they consider early planting for soybeans.

“For a lot of these diseases, infection occurs early in the year. Especially in the fields where we have some SDS showing up — and folks are definitely interested in and see the benefits of planting early — I think that will continue to be a focus in the next year as folks are early planting into some of those cool and wet conditions,” she said.

Harvest Outlook

In addition to those conversations about next year, Horton said she’s talking to growers in her territory about end-of-season issues.

“We’re talking to people about our new products, especially our Asgrow XtendFlex soybean lineup. We are testing our third commercial class of Asgrow XtendFlex soybeans and performance looks great. We are excited to see the amount of 3- and 4-bean pods,” she said.

How that harvest outlook for first-crop soybeans looks now is at least timely, as soybeans in the southern part of the state stay healthy and green.

“In a lot of areas, soybeans are staying very green, and even up until recently, I was seeing new flowers on some of our late Group 4 beans. With favorable conditions, they were continuing to pack on yield. With recent heat the soybean crop is progressing along to harvest and it will be here before we know,” Horton said.

This column was contributed by Illinois AgriNews for Asgrow.

Jeannine Otto

Jeannine Otto

Field Editor