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Soybean forum features markets, weeds, diseases

LSU AgCenter economist provides outlook for the 2012 soybean market at the Tri-State Soybean Forum. Roundup of other speakers and topics provided.

An LSU AgCenter economist provided an outlook for the 2012 soybean market at the Tri-State Soybean Forum on Jan. 6.

Kurt Guidry told soybean farmers gathered at the meeting that they’ve been fortunate to have three good years for supply and demand. “We are starting to see a slowdown in terms of demand, with a slight increase in ending stocks.”

The economist said China purchases a large percentage of the soybeans exported by the United States, and he expects their demand to increase this year. But Brazil’s soybean production is increasing and could compete with U.S. soybeans.

It’s also going to cost more to produce an acre of soybeans this year, Guidry said. “We’re starting 2012 with projections for higher fuel and fertilizer prices than we did in 2011.”

Even with high production costs, Guidry expects prices to remain good and the outlook for profitability to be strong.

An outside factor growers need to concentrate on is animal agriculture, said Jimmy Sneed, a director and communications chair with the United Soybean Board. “More than 90 percent of all soybeans grown goes to animals. Essentially we are growing meat.”

Sneed encouraged farmers to know their customers and produce for them. Sneed, who grows soybeans in Mississippi, said in recent years yields have seen higher highs but lower lows. “So averages have remained flat.”

The United Soybean Board has set a goal to increase bushel-per-acre yields by 35 percent by 2030.

Growers also heard about weed and disease issues.

Tom Eubank, a weed scientist with Mississippi State University, told growers they cannot rely on a glyphosate herbicide program alone.

“It’s imperative that we alternate these herbicide modes of action to control weeds,” Eubank said. Old weed control techniques such as hand-weeding and bottom plows were being used at great expense to control herbicide-resistant weeds.

“We still can grow Roundup Ready beans, we just need to be timely with our herbicide applications,” he said, adding that residual herbicides are an absolute necessity.

The disease aerial blight is becoming a problem in the tri-state area, said LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Boyd Padgett. The disease, which can spread rapidly in soybeans if not managed properly, causes pod abortion.

“I would encourage you to scout your fields, not just from your truck, but go in the field and part the canopy back,” Padgett told the growers. He also encouraged them to choose varieties have been tested in the area where they farm to get better disease control.

Lanny Ashlock, a coordinator with the Mid-South Soybean Promotion Board, commended farmers for their contributions to check-off funds. “In the tri-state, check-offs result in $11 million directed toward soybean research and promotion annually. That’s a great accomplishment.”

Ashlock said many soybean issues transcend states, so the board is focusing on conducting regional research, starting with a study that will look at the effects of planting dates, latitude and environmental factors on choice of maturity groups in Mid-South production.

This was the fifty-sixth year growers from Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi gathered for a tri-state soybean forum.

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