Louisiana Soybeans: Planting Passes 80%; Don’t Stress Over Low Plant Populations

Louisiana soybean producers were able to plant an additional 8% of the crop during the week of May 18-May 24 to reach a total of 83% planted for the state. The planting progress continued to be slow due to rainstorms and saturated soils.

However, the LA soybean producer’s progress held steady compared to the five-year average after falling 4% behind during the previous week.

In 2019, the LA soybean producers were able to plant 15% of the crop during the same week (week ending May 24) to reach 78% planted for the state. The 2020 soybean crop is now 5% ahead of 2019, the smallest differential since April 12. In addition, 70% of the soybean crop has emerged and 7% has reached the R1 (beginning bloom) growth stage.

A total of 98% of the soybean crop continues to be rated from fair to excellent. However, the rating of fair has increased by 8% a week over the previous two weeks, as the rating of good has decreased by an average of 7.5% week over week.

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Figure 1. The 2020 Louisiana soybean planting season has reached 83% completion. The planting progress is 5% ahead of the 2019 planting season but 3% behind the five-year average. Click Image to Enlarge

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Figure 2. A total of 98% of the Louisiana soybean crop is rated as fair to excellent. However, the rating of fair has increased by 8% a week over the previous two weeks, as the rating of good has decreased by an average of 7.5% week over week. Click Image to Enlarge

Plant Population

Last week I walked through a field in Avoyelles Parish that had a lower than expected final plant population. There were some gaps, especially in the front of the field, but the overall stand count was approximately 80,000 plants per acre.

In 2020, there have been two articles published in the Louisiana Crops Newsletter on replanting soybean (April and May issue). In the April issue, an article “Considerations for replanting soybean,” suggest a final soybean population of 80,000 plants per acre should not result in a significant reduction in yield.

One concern of poor emergence is if there are large gaps between plants which will lead to an increase in weed pressure and a reduction in yield. Fortunately, soybean plants do have an ability to compensate for gaps.

Figure 4 shows a soybean plant that began with a 9-inch gap on both sides. The planting date was on March 19 and the picture was taken on May 14. Eight weeks after planting, the soybean plant had filled most of the open space.

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Figure 3. Soybean field in Avoyelles Parish. Even though the stand count was low in areas, the overall population was over 75,000 plants per acre. Click Image to Enlarge

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Figure 4. A soybean plant has filled in a gap that measured 9 inches on both sides. Click Image to Enlarge




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