Notes from the Field – PreHarvest 2021

Mark soybean article imageI’m very hopeful that – even with the dry weather – our production fields can achieve an overall average year for production with sufficient seed for soybean sales in 2022.

Most soybean farmers’ biggest concern across Latham Country has been lack of moisture. Many have noticed aborted flowers, dropped pods, and restricted pod fill. Thankfully, our production fields in South Central Minnesota received a nice two-inch rain during the first week of August. Most of the growers in our area around Alexander, Iowa, got a nice one- or two-inch rain on August 20-21. That rain will help those fields fill out pretty well. Some of our fields in northern Minnesota also got a nice inch or more that weekend.

Rainfall has been extremely variable throughout the summer. On August 20, the Des Moines airport reported no rain but most cities throughout the metro got about 1.5 inches! “Spotty” rains have been the norm rather than the exception this season.

Besides the drought, infestations of two-spotted spider mites are popping up almost everywhere across Latham Country. This is common in periods of dry weather. Most growers seem to be willing to apply pesticides for control, especially when the market price for soybeans is high. Farmers in a few areas have reported Bean Leaf Beetles and Soybean Aphids at very low levels, so insecticide applications have not been necessary.  Grasshoppers also flourish in dry conditions, and I have heard of farmers spraying to control this pest.

On the disease side, I’ve seen and heard of Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) and White Mold this season. Dry weather usually hinders huge outbreaks of diseases, but it’s not unexpected that some areas will see things like this. Remember, SDS CANNOT be controlled with a foliar application of fungicide but there are some that can help on White Mold. I’ve also seen some Frogeye Leaf Spot (FLS) in a few fields but not enough to warrant a fungicide except in Southeast Iowa. I’m hearing about and seeing FLS in regions further north than usual, which is evidence this disease is moving farther north every year.

Call the Latham Team if you need help to diagnose situations or to recommend solutions. Be sure to keep field notes from these problem areas because that will be useful when you select seed in the future.