Rain and more rain continue to dominate Mid-South agriculture with delayed and prevented planting, loss of quality in wheat, delays to fertilization and applications of herbicides. Here’s a look at current conditions aross the region:
• The LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station at Crowley, La., usually gets 26 inches of rain between March 1 and the end of July, but the total so far is 24 inches, according to Dustin Harrell, AgCenter rice specialist.
Midseason fertilizer applications have been complicated by the wet ground that prevents airplanes from using airstrips, Harrell said. Instead, pilots have been forced to use paved runways that are often distant from fields, resulting in higher costs for aerial applications.
He said waiting seven to 10 days for a midseason fertilizer application should not make a significant difference in a crop.
• Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, told farmers that they should be on the lookout for disease. “This is disease weather.”
He said leaf blast will be a problem for farmers if water accidentally drains from a field, but restoring a flood will likely reduce the disease severity.
Groth said fungicide-resistant sheath blight has spread this year, with some reported south of Lacassine and in east Evangeline Parish, increasing the likelihood that the fungicide Sercadis will be needed by more farmers.
• The news is worse for soybeans. Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, said the wet weather has forced him to delay planting for many of his variety trials, and many farmers are close to deciding not to plant a soybean crop.
“It’s probably getting to a point where we won’t see many soybeans planted in south Louisiana,” Levy said.
• Wet weather continues to be the biggest issue for Arkansas corn, says Jason Kelley, Arkansas wheat and feed grains specialist. “Many have and are still struggling getting herbicides and sidedress nitrogen applied. The earliest planted corn in far south Arkansas could be tasseling (the first week of June) and the other extreme is producers contemplating planting more corn to cover contracts.
“Corn is now rapidly growing and when it does stop raining I’m afraid we are going to go from too wet to dry very quickly,” Kelley says.
In Northeast Arkansas, “the same weather pattern continues — we receive enough rain to limit field work,” says Stewart Runsick, Clay County Extension agent. “Many corn fields are turning yellow in areas and need some nitrogen. Some applications of herbicide and fertilizer have gone out by air. Others are just putting out a little nitrogen trying to buy some time until it dries up. Most of the corn is V6 or bigger. We need a week of dry weather to get finished up.
For more details, read Arkansas corn and grain sorghum update.
• At the end of May, Arkansas producers had plenty of rice ready to go to flood. “Once again rice is nearing the end of the nitrogen application window and we can’t find dry ground to put it on,” says Jarrod Hardke, Extension rice specialist. In the latest Arkansas Rice Update, Hardke and Trent Roberts, fertility specialist, discuss how late is too late to plant rice and preflood nitrogen management issues.
• Steady rains over southeast Arkansas, combined with overflowing tributaries heading toward the Mississippi River, caused the northern portion of Chicot County to suffer severe flooding in the last week of May.
Much of the northern quarter of the county was under 6 to 7 inches of water, said Gus Wilson, staff chair for the Chicot County Cooperative Extension Service office in Lake Village.
The northern quarter of the county, he said, will likely suffer near-total crop loss due to the flooding and the timing of the weather events.
He added that even if the area receives no more rains, it will probably be several weeks before fields are dry enough to begin replanting.
• There have been several reports of early season herbicide injury in Mississippi cotton.
“It is not uncommon to see cotton injury from applications of Sequence or metolachlor products mixed with glyphosate and/or Liberty,” said Darrin Dodds, Mississippi Extension cotton specialist. “Undoubtedly, the cool, wet weather we have had so far this year has exacerbated injury from herbicide applications in some situations.”
Read more in Dodds’ Cotton injury from early season herbicide applications.
• Given the excessive rainfall this spring many cotton farmers are asking how late is too late to plant cotton? “Planting date data tells us we ‘typically’ lose yield on a daily basis after May 15 but yields in 2013 and 2014 contradict that to some degree,” said Dodds. “If you are not able to get in the field and plant by June 5 and have already made the decision to not take prevented planting, I would give serious thought to planting soybeans.”
Dodds discusses things to consider when making this decision and provides recommendations if the decision is to plant at How late is too late to plant cotton?
• In Tennessee, many grain sorghum fields “are absolute grassy weed messes, says Larry Steckel, Extension weed specialist. “Unfortunately, once signalgrass, barnyardgrass, fall panicum, crabgrass, etc., gets taller than 2 inches, there is no herbicide that can help in grain sorghum.
“The problem has been fields are often way too muddy to spray timely. This has resulted in many fields with a good amount of grass weed pressure.
“From a weed control standpoint,” says Steckel, “the best option for the fields that now are infested with a lot of annual grass that is 6 to 12 inches tall is to apply glyphosate and replant. Replant is never a popular option but for those with September grain sorghum delivery contracts it is a terribly unpopular option.”
If you’re faced with making this decision, Steckel discusses things you should consider at Grain sorghum infested with grass — options.
• Tennessee cotton growers are beginning to see a peak in thrips numbers, says Scott Stewart, IPM Extension specialist. “It is common in Tennessee for this to occur in late May or the first week of June. Cotton at the 1st and 2nd true-leaf stage will be most sensitive and most likely to benefit from a foliar insecticide application such as Acephate/Orthene, Bidrin of Dimethoate” says Stewart. Read more at Thrips picking up in cotton.
• Frequent rains in May have pushed Missouri corn planting back to five-year lows statewide.
More than 15 percent of Missouri's corn crop was not planted, according to the USDA’s May 26 crop progress report. In northwestern Missouri, only 64 percent of the planned corn crop was in the ground, says University of Missouri Extension agronomist Bill Wiebold.
Farmers who aren’t done planting corn may be thinking about switching to soybeans or earlier-maturing corn hybrids.