With cold and wet conditions having quickly given way to dry weather and heat, concerns for the Mid-South soybean planting season continue.
What’s happening in some Delta states?
“Planters have been running like crazy,” says Jeremy Ross, Arkansas Extension soybean specialist. “We’re now at 62 percent planted, up from 40 percent the week before. So, we gained a lot of acreage. I knew we’d make a big jump once conditions were conducive.”
The problem is “we kind of went from winter straight into summer. Our current temperatures are like mid-June and soil moisture is being lost rapidly. We got a shower through Lonoke (in central Arkansas) a week ago Sunday (May 7).”
Following that, “the ground was sticky on Monday and Tuesday and I thought Friday (May 11) would be a good day to plant. But by then soil moisture had really dipped. I think we have enough to get decent stands on the test plots we planted, but I’ve got my fingers crossed we’ll get some precipitation out of the weather system coming through the next couple of days.”
Many growers Ross has spoken with “have slowed their planting down. The ground is too dry. Still, a lot of guys are prepping fields and watching the skies. If we miss the rains it’ll be pretty tough — high temperatures and a need to get soybeans up and pre-emerge herbicides activated, especially where pigweeds are bad.”
In Tennessee, “we’ve gotten a pretty good start on planting soybeans since the first week in May,” says Angela McClure, University of Tennessee soybean specialist. “We’ve been working around some rains and have had hot weather. That’s helped things pop out of the ground very quickly. We have rain in the forecast for the next several days.”
While some areas have gotten the rains — some of those heavy rains — “there are areas that missed them and are getting a bit too dry,” says McClure. “After the first week of May, some fields hit a window where there were concerns about activating pre’s. Because it was so warm, the crop was coming up with pigweeds.”
In Mississippi, “It’s been a bit of unique planting season,” says Trent Irby, Mississippi State University soybean specialist. “We’ve got a lot of the acreage in, but it stayed wet and cooler than normal for most of April. The soil wouldn’t warm up and it was tough to get fields up to a full stand in some areas of the state. Seedlings on those earliest planted acres just would not grow off.”
With the rise in temperatures, “things changed quickly. Now, it’s hot and dry and we’ve run out of moisture in some places. It’s to the point where growers are wondering whether to keep planting in those areas that haven’t received some of the showers over the last week. Most of our crop has gone in during the last 3-4 weeks. Our biggest challenge so far has certainly been handling thin soybean stands caused by these various environmental situations.”
Mississippi producers have gotten a lot of acres planted in the last couple of weeks. The forecasted soybean acreage for Mississippi this season is around 2.2 million acres.
“Planting should soon be wrapped up for the most part. Weed control is already a big deal on planted acreage. The quick change to hot and dry makes that a challenge with all of the recently planted acreage needing rainfall to not only germinate seed, but to activate the residual herbicides as well.”