As I type this, it has just finished raining again. As I look at my weather station statistics here in my office I see that year-to-date we have had 32 inches of rain so far. Eighteen inches has fallen in the last 60 days. I don’t even remember a year close to being this wet, or continuing to be this wet.
The soybean crop continues to struggle along in many places. The hotter temperatures of the last two weeks along with the humidity has made the beans jump in height. However we continue to see and scout many fields where plant height, growth stage and overall plant health are varied significantly.
The results of the wet, slow and uneven soybean growth are weed control issues everywhere. Waterhemp, marestail and nutsedge are growing at a pace I have never seen and are taking some fields over in a matter of days. This year I also saw my first confirmed Palmer amaranth plant in a field of soybeans.
We also have many fields that are a product of their growing environment when it comes to appearance, rather than their genetics or farming practices. Soybeans with shallow or stunted roots, light green leaves, nutrient deficiencies due to smaller root size and growth issues related to herbicide applications in these wet conditions.
While I am not a promoter of “earlier is better” when it comes to planting soybeans, this year very similar to the corn crop, the mid April to early May soybeans look the best, not only in stand establishment but also in plant health and weed control.
So my mid-season prognostication of the 2015 soybean crop is this: While anything can happen between now and harvest, I would expect to see wide swings in yield over the area I work in. I would also expect to see a prolonged harvest due to maturity ranges and planting dates. In some cases, we will add a massive amount of weed seed to the seed bank for 2016. And as we approach R1 – R3, many producers will have to determine the ROI of applying fungicides and insecticides to a late and possibly below-average yielding crop.