Arkansas soybeans headed for another good year

Arkansas’ soybean farmers could be on their way to breaking the statewide yield record of 46 bushels an acre, the University of Arkansas’ Jeremy Ross says.

That’s what USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service projected in the September Crop Production Report it released Thursday (Sept. 11), and Dr. Ross, Extension soybean agronomist for Arkansas, isn’t finding much room for argument.

“A few weeks ago I was a little hesitant on thinking we had the potential to do that,” Ross said. “With some of the reports I’ve been hearing, especially out of the southern portion of the state, we may be getting close to breaking that new record.”

According to USDA, Arkansas’ soybean crop was about 5 percent harvested as of Monday, Sept. 8. That’s compared to the five-year average of 9 percent, Ross said in an interview at a Bayer CropScience SDS tour event in Lonoke, Ark., on Thursday (Sept. 11. The event was moved indoors because of the threat of more rain in central Arkansas.)

“This rain will slow things down,” he said. “We had quite a bit of harvesting activity as some farmers tried to get the soybeans that were ready out ahead of this rain.”

In some of the earliest planted fields that Ross was getting reports on, yields were in the mid-40s to the upper 50. “Then as we progressed and got into our more full-season varieties, we were actually hearing some very good yields – mid 80s,” he noted. “We’re started to hear some other good reports.”

Later, Ross confirmed that David Bennett, a producer from Chicot County in Southeast Arkansas, had set a new record for Arkansas of 112.012 bushels per acre in a field he entered in the Arkansas Soybean Association’s Grow for the Green contest.

Bennett became the fourth farmer in Southeast Arkansas to grow more than 100 bushels per acre. That list includes Matt Miles, who set the old record of 107.63 bushels in 2013 and once again harvested more than 100 bushels per acre in 2014.

Although harvest has been underway for more than a month in Arkansas, some farmers are still weeks away from harvesting, according to Ross.

“Some of the things we’re dealing with now – No. 1 is probably irrigation termination,” he noted. “They’re starting to shut off the water and getting ready to harvest – if they haven’t started the harvest.”

Stink bugs are on the rise, “but our thresholds pick up quite a bit once we get to R-6. So we’re starting to sort of wean off of some of those applications. Harvest aids have been another big question this year – when do I need to apply a harvest aid,” Ross noted.

“Our recommendation is to look at around 6.5 to apply those harvest aids, and then look at the next couple of weeks to try to get those harvested.”

High yields or not, many producers will be glad to finish up their 2014 crop and put the season behind them, says Ross. “It’s been a long year; we’ve had a lot of things going on. We were kind of spotty in getting planted. We’ve had good weather for a few days, and then we’d have another shower to kepe us out for a few days. So the crop is really sporadic.

“But, overall, everything is in that late R-5 stage to being harvested right now. We’re right on the tail end of the crop, and I think everyone is ready for it to end because of all the issues we’ve had.”

For more about Arkansas’ efforts to increase soybean yields, see http://deltafarmpress.com/southern-corn-and-soybean-production-guide/busting-soybean-yield-barrier-arkansas-growers-break-reco.

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