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Planting window gets a jumpstart, as consultant notes early redbanded stinkbug catches.

Whitney Haigwood, Staff Writer

May 5, 2023

5 Min Read
Corn falling from hopper trailer
Corn will make the largest acreage jump this year in Louisiana at 13%, followed by rice at 6%, according to an April USDA/NASS report.Farm Press

At a Glance

  • Louisiana corn acres are up in 2023. The entire corn crop is planted and on schedule, despite the weather and replants.
  • Being on the earlier side of the planting window, farmers are reminded to be on the lookout for oddities and anomalies.
  • Redbanded stinkbug catches in the northern part of the state this spring indicate overwintering. Scout early and often.

Planting in Louisiana is well underway and ahead of schedule in 2023.  The entire corn crop was planted by early April, compared to 89% the same time last year, according to the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service. Being on the front end of the plant window is good news, but Hank Jones, crop consultant at RHJ Ag Services in Winnsboro, La., reminds us that what you least expect may show up in a year like this. 

Weather has already impacted the corn crop, with replants due to freezing temperatures in late March. In addition, Jones anticipates the redbanded stinkbug to be the biggest potential problem as we head into 2023. He is catching them in crimson clover in the northern part of the state, at numbers higher than usual for this time of the season. 

Jones, recently honored as the 2022 Cotton Consultant of the Year, shared a crop progress update from the field. James Villegas, assistant professor of field crops and entomology at Louisiana State AgCenter, joined the conversation to share recommendations for 2023. 

#Plant23 in Louisiana 

Corn acres in Louisiana are up 13% from 2022. The USDA NASS Prospective Plantings report released March 31st projects 510,000 acres of corn to be planted in the state in 2023. Jones reported the corn is in the ground – both rounds one and two – and the crop is at a good pace due to the planting jumpstart this season. 

Related:Rice planting rockets ahead for northeastern Arkansas

“The freeze took out a fairly decent percentage of the early planted corn. Failed stands were primarily on the lighter dirt. Fortunately, we did not have a massive replant. Despite the weather and even with the replant, we are still on schedule.” 

The USDA NASS Crop Progress and Condition report from April 17 said 98% of the corn crop has emerged, with 90% of the crop in fair to excellent condition.  

Rice acres are also expected to be up this year in Louisiana by 6%, and according to the same April 17th report, 83% of the rice crop is planted. Soybean planting picked up mid-April, however, acres are projected to be slightly down across the state by 7%. 

The biggest drop in acreage comes from the cotton crop. The USDA projects 13,000 acres of cotton in Louisiana in 2023, down 33% from last year. Jones feels the estimate is accurate and said most of that is due to prices. 

“We have different environmental factors in Louisiana, which means that our cotton acres fluctuate,” he added. 

Lookout for oddities 

While early planting opportunities are ideal, Jones noted that it also comes with a chance of seeing the least expected. 

Related:Okla. peanut producers prep to plant, hopeful better conditions ahead

“We are trending more on the earlier side than the late side in getting some of these crops in. We’ve got a bit of an off-balance situation, especially if we plant everything early. It is important to look out for some of the oddities and anomalies that happen in a year like this when we are ahead of schedule,” he said. 

One such is the presence of the redbanded stinkbug (RBSB). Jones is catching them in crimson clover in the northern part of Louisiana, mostly along ditches, field edges, and pastures. He reported catches during the last week of March, before the crimson clover even headed. Numbers are picking up as the crimson clover heads out. 

“Be on guard and cognizant of RBSB this year. We had hoped that the cold winter was enough to knock them back, but they did overwinter enough for us to catch and count them in a sweep net.” 

Overwintering survival of redbanded stinkbugs 

Temperature is extremely important to the overwintering survival of RBSB. Villegas said there is still hope that the cold snap of 2022 knocked down the initial population, and he referred to research conducted by Jeff Davis at LSU AgCenter along with weather data collected this past winter. 

Davis’s studies indicate it takes four hours of continuous exposure to temperatures at or below 23 degrees Fahrenheit to kill 50% of the RBSB population and seven hours to kill 90% pf the population.  If exposed to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes seven days of continuous exposure to kill 95% of the population.  

Data from LSU AgCenter weather stations from November 2022 to March 2023 show continuous hours at 23 degrees Fahrenheit or below at the Chase, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge locations for 30 hours, 28 hours, and 10 hours respectively.  

“If that is the case, there is a good chance that our earlier planted soybean within the recommended planting window will have less RBSB populations than later planted soybeans. However, we also have to consider that cover crops such as crimson clover, white clover, and other weeds can provide a micro-environment to protect RBSB from continuous exposure to lethal temperatures. So, we should not be reliant on temperature alone,” Villegas said. 

RBSB is an invasive species, and they can thrive if given the right environment. Villegas reminds producers and consultants to “scout early and scout often.”  

Pests can feed before pod set. Real damage from RBSB feeding begins at pod set. They can continue through the season with overlapping generations all the way through soybean maturity. Management of their numbers during these critical stages is important, and tank mixes of two different active ingredients continue to provide the most effective control. Villegas said to always rotate chemistries, and do not to apply the same mode of action consecutively. 

“The threshold for RBSB in Louisiana remains the same at four per 25 sweeps. In a typical year, three to five sprays are accounted for RBSB management alone,” he added.  

For more recommendations on RBSB management, you can see the latest blogpost from Villegas, Protect Soybeans from Redbanded Stinkbugs until Maturity, at www.LSUAgCenter.com.

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