Mississippi Soybeans: 7 Planning Factors For 2019

Soybean planting in no-till field. Photo: NCRS

Planning for the 2019 soybean cropping season is already in full swing – or it should be. Here are 7 items to take into account.

#1. Herbicide Resistance

If you are having problems with herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds, don’t expect a herbicide alone to bail you out. You should already be taking alternative steps to thwart this omnipresent production problem. These include:

  • Using a cereal rye cover crop that is managed to provide maximum biomass to impede/reduce weed emergence before and following soybean planting in fields with HR weeds.
  • Ensuring that the PRE and POST herbicides that you plan to use represent 2 or more modes of action, that they target known problem weeds in your field, and that the varieties you choose are tolerant to the planned herbicides.
  • Choosing varieties with the herbicide trait technology that will provide you with the best weed control options for your individual fields.

#2. Disease Prevention

Select varieties with a high tolerance or even resistance to foliar diseases that have become resistant to some of the commonly-used fungicides. Of particular importance is selecting varieties with a high level of tolerance to frogeye leaf spot (FLS). It’s the foliar disease known to be the biggest threat to soybean yields in the Midsouth and has developed resistance to the QoI class of fungicides.

And continue to select varieties with documented resistance to stem canker since there is no other preventive or curative control for this devastating disease. Click here for a detailed soybean disease management guide and here for links to companies’ websites that show the traits of their released soybean varieties.

#3. Seed Treatments

Use a broad-spectrum fungicide seed treatment that controls both seed- and soil-borne pathogens that will reduce germination and emergence in many planting environments. A failed stand can be replanted, but the advantages of early planting cannot be recovered by replanting.

Pathogens targeted and controlled by effective seed treatments are generally always present at planting, so the small expense for a fungicide seed treatment is great insurance. Use insecticide and nematicide seed treatments only if there is a history of these pests causing problems in a specific field.

#4. Nematode Decisions

If you are planting into soil known to be infested with soybean cyst nematodes (SCN), just knowing this pest is present is not enough. Take soil samples and have your laboratory of choice determine the HG type of SCN that is present so you can ensure that a variety with the proper resistance source is planted in that field.

AgFax Weed Solutions

Also, knowing if root-knot and reniform nematodes are present at damaging levels will allow you to choose appropriate rotation partners with soybeans. Click here and here for White Papers that explain nematode management.

#5. Soil Fertility Management

Did you sample and test your soils for fertility last fall? If not, this can still be done effectively in the spring. In the current environment of high input costs and relatively low commodity prices, testing will at least let you know the nutrient status of your soils even though you not may consider full replacement of deficient nutrients feasible at this time.

Click here for a guide to soil sampling and fertility management.

#6. Closely Examine Your Budget

Be wary of applying inputs that may not provide a return on investment even though this may be recommended by those selling such products. In this time of low commodity prices, inputs should be scrutinized ever more closely to ensure that only those necessary for establishing a stand and managing/controlling weeds and pests known or anticipated to be present are used.

Consider abandoning the widespread use of the automatic foliar fungicide application often recommended. This practice has led to the fungicide resistance development in some diseases, and its continuation will only exacerbate this problem.

Pinpoint varietal tolerance/resistance to problem pathogens. Scout closely to identify pathogens that should be treated on a field by field basis. The continued overuse of foliar fungicides on a widespread basis is no longer a viable option for disease management in soybeans.

#7. Irrigation Tools For 2019

If you irrigate, use all of the tools (e.g., Pipe Planner, soil moisture sensors, surge valves) that are proven to water efficiency – meaning you’ll use less water to achieve optimum yield. Ignoring water efficiency isn’t just poor management, it’s inviting a future that will see less water available to all producers.

The continual decline in the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer (MRVAA) must be curtailed if the Midsouth is to maintain its ​current irrigation capability. And these water-saving tools should be a part of every irrigator’s plan; the adoption of these tools by every irrigator will be required if the MRVAA’s decline is to be curtailed and maintained at a sustainable level.

Here’s a downloadable Irrigation Guide on this website and here for a White Paper titled “Soybean Water Relations and Irrigation”.

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