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Asian soybean rust kept from damaging Louisiana crop

Asian soybean rust did not have a damaging effect on this year’s Louisiana soybean crop, according to experts at the LSU AgCenter.

The disease showed up earlier this year than in previous years in sentinel plots and production fields, and the LSU AgCenter’s soybean specialist credits a good intervention strategy with keeping the disease down.

“We did a really good job spraying for the disease this year,” David Lanclos said. “In certain situations we had fields that, had they not been sprayed, would have had 50 to 60 percent yield loss.”

The hot spots for the disease were in Avoyelles and Rapides parishes. Despite its rapid movement, the disease had little effect on the overall crop.

“This year we are going to be hard-pressed to find any fields that actually had significant yield loss directly attributed to Asian soybean rust.” Lanclos said.

Lanclos reports that even with the threat of Asian soybean rust, yields are outstanding this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that Louisiana soybean growers would harvest around 37 bushels per acre. This is 2 bushels more than the state yield record of 35 bushels per acre, but growers may do even better.

“The latest report has inched that number upward to 39, and if we continue to have favorable weather over the next week, we’re definitely going to be in that ballpark,” Lanclos said.

The growing season was not without incident. Green bean syndrome, which can delay maturity of the plant, affected some fields. This syndrome can be caused by a number of stresses on the plant. Lanclos blamed high heat indexes over several weeks for the syndrome.

Production costs were high in most crops this year, but costs were not severe for soybean growers.

“Most of our input costs are on integrated pest management — fungicides, herbicides and insecticides.” Lanclos said. “This year we did not have that many issues with insects like the stink bug.”

Soybean acreage was down significantly this year. Last year growers planted more than 850,000 acres of soybeans. This year acreage is around 580,000.

The harvest is nearing completion, and Lanclos expects it to wrap up by the end of the month.

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