Louisiana Soybeans: Rains Slow Planting, Insects Mostly Quiet

Soybeans rows. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Rainstorms and saturated soils slowed the Louisiana soybean planting progress for the second consecutive week. According to the USDA, LA soybean producers were able to plant 5% of the crop for the week ending on May 31, 2020: a total of 5% less than in 2019 (during the same week).

The LA soybean producers have now planted a total of 88% of the crop. As of May 10, the planting progress in 2020 was 17% faster than in 2019; however, at 88% complete, there is no difference between 2020 and 2019. At 3% behind the 5-year average, the LA soybean producers did not fall any farther behind after the previous two weeks.

A total of 79% of the soybean crop has emerged, and 98% remains in the fair-excellent rating. Statewide, the soybean crop rating improved since last week as the rating of good and excellent increased by 6% and 4%, respectively.

A couple factors contributing to poor ratings are damage from deer and saturated soils.

Insect Pressure

I scouted a soybean field in Evangeline Parish on May 29 with Dr. Sebe Brown (LSU AgCenter entomologist). The soybean varieties consisted of maturity groups 4.5 and 4.6. The 4.5 variety had reached the R1 (beginning bloom) growth stage a day or two before our visit, and the 4.6 variety appeared to be a day or two away from the R1 growth stage.

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The grower was concerned there may be an infestation of corn earworm (soybean podworm) that was approaching the economic threshold. On average, only 0.5 corn earworms were found per 100 sweeps, well below the economic threshold of 36 per 100 sweeps.

Likewise, a few plants had main stems that were girdled near the ground by threecornered alfalfa hoppers. Only 1 adult threecornered alfalfa hopper was caught per 100 sweeps, also well below the economic threshold of 100 threecornered alfalfa hoppers per 100 sweeps.

Post scouting discussions focused on the economic and ecological benefits of not spraying insecticides at that time. Applying an insecticide when the populations are below the economic threshold will decrease the profit margin and will kill beneficial insects that serve as a biological control.

It is important to scout frequently throughout the growing season as pest pressure can change and a pesticide application may be necessary.




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