AUBURN, Ala.— During the upcoming planting season, growers can expect to work in dry conditions again as they plant soybeans in April and May, or double-crop soybeans in June and July. Though much of Alabama has experienced recent rains, the drought still persists and is likely to continue into 2017.
The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was cause for concern as farmers desperately needed to coax soybeans out of the ground. Moisture was scarce early in the growing season, but beans made a comeback at harvest time.
An Alabama Cooperative Extension System Specialist, Dr. Brenda Ortiz, said lack of soil moisture associated with warmer and drier spring planting conditions can delay emergence.
“Under anticipated warmer and drier spring conditions, planting should occur earlier,” she said. “Also, growers should consider using cover crops and conservation tillage to preserve soil moisture.”
Corn Management Strategies During La Nina
Irrigation is an important safeguard if it is available to producers. Row spacing of soybean plants should be reduced and irrigation increased. Growers should also select taller varieties.
Several insects typically migrate into soybean fields faster during drier spring conditions. Under these conditions, growers can anticipate higher populations of grasshoppers. Stinkbug populations also tend to increase during warmer spring conditions.
Dry springs also promote the spread of three-cornered alfalfa hoppers, which are more likely to migrate onto soybeans as wild host plants dry out earlier. Thrips are another problematic insect pest in warmer springs. Wet springtime weather typically contributes to higher mortality rates of immature thrips.
Under drier spring conditions growers should anticipate earlier pest movement from host plants than usual.
“Scouting is an essential safeguard, though many of these pests are difficult to detect given the small size of the emerging soybean plants,” Ortiz said. “Insecticides can be simultaneously applied with herbicide treatments that are sprayed on small beans as part of an early season weed control regimen.
During warmer, drier springs, especially those preceded by warm, dry winters, growers should monitor for soybean rust. During mild winters, it is likely that soybean rust will build up on kudzu in the spring and could potentially move into soybean production areas later in the spring and summer.
Growers should follow the spread of soybean rust through the IPM Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education at http://sbr.ipmpipe.org/cgi-bin/sbr/public.cgi or through the rust alerts provided by their state’s extension system. Fungicides may need to be applied earlier in the season based on increased risk from the disease. Failure to deal with soybean rust early could trigger an epidemic later in the season.
Extension’s Climate and Crops iBook
Learn more about Climate and Crops, Alabama Extension’s newest iBook, at http://www.aces.edu/climateandcrops.
Climate and Crops focuses on the Southeast’s five major row crops: corn, cotton, peanut, soybean and wheat. It features multiple interactive options, including 17 videos, 33 interactive graphics and hundreds of images related to problematic insects, diseases and weeds.
Climate and Crops is a comprehensive resource not only for farmers, crop consultants and Cooperative Extension.