Producers in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi may see record soybean yields across the region in 2018, said LSU AgCenter associate vice president and plant science program leader Rogers Leonard at the 62nd annual Tri-State Soybean Forum.
The region produces over 7 million acres of soybeans and accounts for more than just “a drop in the bucket” as the commodity value and technologies available to increase profits continue to improve each year, Leonard said.
The tri-state meeting was held at the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center in Oak Grove, La., Jan. 5 and drew more than 125 producers and industry representatives. Meeting topics included soil fertility, variety resistance, soil and insect pathogens, and an economic outlook.
The Louisiana Soybean and Feed Grains Promotion Board and numerous industry and business donors sponsored the annual meeting, which rotates among Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi each year.
LSU AgCenter county agent R.L. Frazier, who coordinated the event, said the forum brings researchers and specialists from the cooperating universities together to provide the latest research updates and recommendations affecting soybean production and practices.
Tap root decline
University of Arkansas plant pathologist Terry Spurlock provided the latest information on tap root decline, a newly described disease that has become more prevalent since 2014, most notably in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Initially misidentified as black root rot, tap root decline is caused by a fungus.
“We don’t know yet if it is producing a toxin like sudden death syndrome or if it is a nutritional response or combination of the two, but we do know it is not a seed-borne disease,” Spurlock said.
Tap root decline behaves like a soil-borne disease and has caused some substantial yield losses since 2015, he said.
Redbanded stink bug
Growers may get some help from Mother Nature in controlling the redbanded stink bug, considered the most damaging stink bug in soybeans, said LSU AgCenter research entomologist Jeff Davis.
“For lethal exposure, all we need is nine hours at 23 degrees Fahrenheit to kill 90 percent of the population, and we have had that,” Davis said.
Because no soybean varieties are immune to stink bugs, Davis recommends planting less-susceptible varieties, scouting fields early and often until harvest, and using multiple insecticide applications as populations reach threshold to maintain stink bug control.
Bobby Golden, soil fertility and nutrient management specialist with Mississippi State University, said fertilization practices must change in order to remain sustainable in the future.
Golden shared data that suggest soil nutrients are taken up differently when the crop is planted in April versus May.
Solid soil fertility is required to maintain high-yielding soybeans and is best managed by soil testing and the judicious use of the test results, he said.
“Let’s be honest, soybeans are pretty much driving the train for farm productivity and economic development right now in the Delta,” he said.
University of Arkansas weed scientist Bob Scott discussed herbicide resistance in soybeans, saying that repeated use of herbicide chemistries with the same mode of action will result in increased weed resistance over time.
“We have to manage these technologies to limit the further development of resistance,” he said.
LSU AgCenter county agent Richard Letlow presented results from a study on Southern root-knot nematode on the Paul Wiggins farm in Morehouse Parish, La.
Letlow said soil type in combination with planting resistant varieties plays the most significant role in reducing the effects of nematode damage.
Larry Falconer, Mississippi State University farm and ranch management specialist, presented an overview of the soybean market situation and outlook for 2018.
Soybean prices continue to be influenced by the Chinese market, Falconer said, adding that Mexico and Vietnam are two other markets to watch.
Looking at 2018 farm bill expectations, LSU AgCenter economist Michael Deliberto said there is some uncertainty regarding the timeline for completion. “Since policy is a blend of economics and politics, the budget climate will supersede many reform efforts,” he said.
The Tri-State Soybean Forum board recognized retired LSU AgCenter soybean specialist Ronnie Levy for outstanding service to the soybean industry, presenting him with a Distinguished Service Award.
The board also awarded $1,500 scholarships to Shana Place, a junior at the University of Arkansas from Gillette, Arkansas, and Will Hale, a University of Louisiana at Monroe junior from Pioneer, Louisiana.