Hello from District 2.

Soybeans are really starting to change color quickly here in District 2. Temperatures were very high a couple weeks ago and are now back to normal for this time of year. Some of the later planted soybeans are still green and benefitted greatly from the last couple rain events we’ve had, something I can’t say for the earlier ones. Beans planted in late April and early May are starting to drop leaves now. This is the time of year when you can really start seeing how the beans may yield. So, what factors went into that yield determination this year?

There are some highlights of the year that are worth noting as we look forward to yield potentials. First of all, we all know that beans got an incredibly wet start. Waterlogged soils and completely drowned out spots of the field will certainly translate to a yield loss this year. On the other hand, the constant moisture kept herbicides active in the soil much longer than usual. Yield potential was enhanced in places where residual herbicides were used. I believe there was less early season weed competition than ever before. Wet weather also set up perfect conditions for disease to be a yield-limiting factor.

Much like 2009, we were prepared for white mold to decimate susceptible soybean fields, especially those with a history. For a one week period, I thought that prediction was going to hold true. The vast majority of the fields that I scouted the last part of July and the first part of June had white mold present. However, that initial level never increased past that point in time. Something changed in the conditions and shut that disease down in its tracks. The affected fields may have some negative yield effect, but in most cases there wasn’t enough white mold in the field for the effect to be significant.

Now for the insect problems, oh wait, there were no insect problems! Throughout the season we had visits from just about every insect soybean pest. However, none evercame close to what would be considered an economic threshold. In my area, foliar insecticide applications were at an all-time low. This lack of insect pressure will certainly be a benefit to yield this year.

Taking all this into consideration, I think we can expect average to slightly above average soybean yields. With the exception of the early season weather, this was a near perfect year for soybeans in District 2. You can hardly go wrong when weeds, disease and insects are all kept in check.

Final yields will mostly be determined by the severity of that early season moisture at a given location. Proving once again that weather trumps all!

Jeff Keifer specializes in agronomic data and technology at the Elburn Cooperative Company. His job requires him to help his fellow sales team deliver agronomic and technological knowledge to their customers. Jeff is a 2001 graduate from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Agroecology and is glad to be back working in his home area.

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About the Author: Jeff Keifer