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Louisiana crop situation improving

With the recent return of sunshine has come some improvement in the overall health of Louisiana crops. The backlog of spraying by the aerial applicators is shrinking, allowing more timely pesticide applications.

The grain sorghum crop is almost finished. The major concern across most fields is weeds. I received a call the other day about removing large cocklebur from grain sorghum. There are more johnsongrass escapes in sorghum this year than I have seen in a while. Wherever water stood for an extended time the grasses took over.

Producers have been struggling with timing midge applications because of the unevenness in heading, caused by excessive rainfall.

Louisiana soybeans are a mixed bag with more positive signs every day. Many fields over much of the state, however, continue to struggle.

The soybean crop south of Interstate 10 has suffered most. We replanted up to three times in several parishes south of the interstate.

The crop in southwest and southeast Louisiana is healthier, but not close to where it should be. Insects, aerial blight and cercospora are starting to pick up.

Most of north Louisiana has a descent to good soybean crop. Isolated fields in some parishes are struggling, but should improve with more sunshine.

What can we do to improve our situation? There were people planting beans as late as July 16. There are inherent risks planting that late. If the weather turns dry and continues to be dry, we may not have enough moisture to get the crop out of the ground.

Other problems in soybeans are three-cornered alfalfa hoppers, rising stink bug populations, scalding, general lack of growth and stunting, and rapidly drying fields. I have been telling producers that we need to protect the crop that is filling pods — in other words R5 to R6.

Irrigation is not a popular subject in Louisiana, but if you have yields to protect, flushing beans or running polypipe would be recommended. Small or late-planted beans, however, can be severely scalded if irrigation is not handled properly. Most of our larger beans can handle an irrigation. It is critical that the crop have enough moisture to fill out pods.

David Y. Lanclos is the soybean, corn and grain sorghum specialist at LSU AgCenter. e-mail:

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