By Jeff Shaner
Regional Product Manager – Soybean Lead
There is a big US crop out there. That may be a hard statement to hear for those who have suffered a loss due to nasty weather incursions this summer. But it is true, and it is true in many parts of the country. Not just corn…there will be a bonus soybean crop too.
When a big crop is rounding the last bend and heading for home on your farms, there are still a couple of things that can dampen the joy at this point. Several of these that come to mind will not be within your realm of control. Diseases like Sudden Death Syndrome, Charcoal Rot and White Mold – you can’t fix them at this stage in the game. Weather delays your harvest beyond an optimal date – also not your fault. But oh, those pesky bugs! Stink bugs, Bean Leaf Beetles, Corn Root Worm Beetles, Grasshoppers, Soybean Aphids and others. They are all present and accounted for.
We are in the final days of August. Should we be concerned about insects anymore this year?
Let’s talk soybean pests.
Number One: Assess the amount of time you have left in any individual field where pods will be building seed.
Notice I did not say “assess the date on the calendar.” Have an early maturity variety or one that was planted early? Chances are that crop will be maturing soon. A rescue treatment for pests may not come in time to do you any good.
But what about those fields that were planted later or have a full season product in play? Can you expect that you will be building seed in those fields for the next three weeks? If so, insect damage could rob you of valuable yield.
I have been observing growing populations of Soybean Aphids in many parts of the country recently. Please monitor this situation on your critical acres. We had a growing season about 15 years ago where an expanding aphid population did measurable damage (to the tune of about 12 bpa!) after Labor Day weekend! These fields were planted fairly late that year, but the point here is that you will be more well served to assess the amount of productive pod-filling time left for your fields, rather than what the date on the calendar would indicate is normally true most years.
Number Two: Now take a roll call of total pests working against you out there. Aphid population surging while the weather has turned dry? Perhaps their nutrient-draining activity will be too much for plants to handle that are also being hammered by pod feeders during this, the most critical time of the crop year for making or breaking soybean yield. The decision you make this week could mean the difference between harvesting BBs or bowling balls.
Farming with a Maximum Profit System™ mindset means you never give up on the crop. Even as August draws to a close.