Category Archives: Soybean

Soybean Fungicide Advisory – July 25, 2019

For soybean that is at or near the beginning pod (R3) stage, it is time to consider whether or not a fungicide application is needed to control foliar diseases and protect yield. The Virginia soybean fungicide advisory indicates that disease risk is moderate to high in most locations. Fields with moderate risk should be scouted since foliar diseases will not be an issue in every field every year.  Keep in mind that other risk factors also contribute to disease severity and yield loss to fungal diseases. High risk fields include those where susceptible soybean varieties are planted, there is a recent history of soybean foliar diseases, and/or rotations out of soybean are short or soybean is planted continuously over several years. If based on the soybean fungicide advisory or other factors you decide to apply a fungicide, applications are generally the most effective when applied between R3 and R4 stages (no later than R5). The most recent Soybean Fungicide Efficacy Table and instructions on how to use the Virginia soybean fungicide advisory can be found in last week’s blog post. A summary of disease risk and spray recommendations for different locations in Virginia can be found below.

Region of Virginia Location of weather station Soybean disease risk Recommendation
Eastern Shore Painter High Spray
Southeastern Suffolk Moderate Scout
Southeastern Virginia Beach Moderate Scout
Northern Neck Warsaw Moderate to high Scout
Central Blackstone Low to moderate Don’t spray
Northern Middleburg Moderate to high Scout
Northern Shenandoah High Spray
Northern Winchester Moderate Scout
Western Critz High Spray
Western Blacksburg High Spray
Western Glade Spring High Spray

For detailed daily advisories, select the location closest to your field and download the corresponding file here:

Glade_Spring_soyadv_25Jul2019

Middleburg_soyadv_25Jul2019

Painter_soyadv_25Jul2019

Shenandoah_soyadv_25Jul2019

Suffolk_soyadv_25Jul2019

VA_Beach_soyadv_25Jul2019

Warsaw_soyadv_25Jul2019

Winchester_soyadv_25Jul2019

Blacksburg_soyadv_25Jul2019

Blackstone_soyadv_25Jul2019

Critz_soyadv_25Jul2019

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Hillary Mehl (hlmehl@vt.edu).

Plant bug / bollworm update for VA cotton

The much needed rain earlier this week also heralded the start of the moth flight in southeastern VA. Both eggs and adult moths are being picked up by scouting teams. So far, only a handful of fields are over recommended thresholds. I recommend scouting 2-gene cotton (Bollgard II, Widestrike, Twinlink) for eggs and applying Prevathon or Besiege when you find 25 or more per 100 terminals and/or leaves. If you planted 3-gene cotton, you are likely protected. We have measured very little benefit to spraying Widestrike 3, Bollgard III, and Twinlink Plus varieties for bollworm. In these varieties, finding 3 or more live second-stage larvae in one trip (or two worms in two consecutive trips, or one worm in three consecutive trips) triggers an application.

Other insecticides can control bollworm in cotton, but timing is critical. If you are using a pyrethroid, for example, target small worms. No product will clean up a problem field once worms are inside bolls.

Our team, lead by PhD student Seth Dorman, ANR Agent Josh Holland, and Dr. Sean Malone are scouting fields this week for lygus. Few problems fields were detected in southern counties today. However, fields were observed over recommended thresholds. At this point, many people have sprayed. Some may need to spray again and some may not. The only way to know is to scout.

Northern counties will be scouted this Friday and I will update the blog with our findings.

As always, you can reach out to me with your questions and concerns.

 

Soybean Fungicide Advisory – July 19, 2019

Based on research conducted since 2014, we have developed a disease favorable day threshold for predicting when a fungicide application in soybean will be economical. The favorable day threshold is based on daily average temperature and hours of high relative humidity, and these parameters are being monitored from weather stations located at Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Centers (AREC) throughout the state. We have determined that weather conditions approximately three weeks prior to the beginning pod (R3) stage of the soybean crop are the most critical for determining if disease will impact yield and if a foliar fungicide application will be economical. Fungicide recommendations for different locations throughout Virginia can be downloaded below. To use the advisory, follow these steps:

1) Identify the weather station (AREC) closest to your field. A map of the AREC locations can be found here.

2) Download the PDF for your location below.

Blacksburg_soyadv_18Jul2019

Blackstone_soyadv_18Jul2019

Critz_soyadv_18Jul2019

Glade_Spring_soyadv_18Jul2019

Middleburg_soyadv_18Jul2019

Painter_soyadv_18Jul2019

Shenandoah_soyadv_18Jul2019

Suffolk_soyadv_18Jul2019

Warsaw_soyadv_18Jul2019

Winchester_soyadv_18Jul2019

VA_Beach_soyadv_18Jul2019

3) Under the “date” column, find the date that corresponds to approximately when your soybean crop has reached or will reach the R3 (beginning pod) stage).

4) In the row that corresponds to your R3 date, determine if disease risk is low, moderate, or high based on the favorable day threshold.

5) The last column indicates if a spray is recommended based on your R3 date.

Keep in mind that other risk factors also contribute to disease severity and yield loss to fungal diseases. High risk fields include those where susceptible soybean varieties are planted, there is a recent history of soybean foliar diseases, and/or rotations out of soybean are short or soybean is planted continuously over several years. If based on the soybean fungicide advisory or other factors you decide to apply a fungicide, applications are generally the most effective when applied between R3 and R4 stages (no later than R5). The most recent Soybean Fungicide Efficacy Table can be downloaded below.

Soybean Fungicide efficacy table_2019_final

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Hillary Mehl (hlmehl@vt.edu).

 

 

2019 Virginia Ag Expo Comes to Charity Hill Farms in Caroline County

The Virginia Ag Expo is the largest agricultural field day held in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As an educational, marketing and social event, farmers and agribusiness look forward to the Virginia Ag Expo each year. This year’s event will be held at Charity Hill Farm in Ruther Glen, VA on August 1st.

Charity Hill Farm is an 800-acre farm owned and operated by The Smith Family in Caroline County.  Its active members are Steve and Cindy Smith and their son Chris. The farm has been in the Smith family for six generations and is a certified Virginia Century Farm.  Originally known as Smith Dairy Farm, the dairy cows were sold in 2006, and the operation began its transition to beef cattle with the help of the Smith’s daughter, Kendal, who is now a large animal veterinarian in Nebraska.  Over the last 8 years, the Smiths have focused on growing and perfecting their 200 head beef herd, and Chris began retailing their BQA Certified, USDA inspected beef directly to the consumer in 2017.  The Smiths additionally farm 1,200 acres of grain crops in Caroline and Spotsylvania counties, 150 acres of hay and 55 acres of managed timber. Agritourism events are also hosted at Charity Hill, and they work to promote conservation initiatives. The Smiths are proud to have won the 2010 Hanover/Caroline Soil and Water Conservation District and York River Basin Clean Water Farm Awards.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the Ag Expo by Virginia food vendors.  Attendees will be able to eat any time from 7:30 AM to 2:00 PM.

Over 150 exhibitors and sponsors will have on display all of the most up to date equipment, goods and services for agricultural producers and property owners no matter how large or small.  Field tours will also be presented by many of Virginia’s top agricultural researchers, Extension Agents, and NRCS personnel.

The Virginia Ag Expo is sponsored by the Virginia Grains Producers Association and the Virginia Soybean Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service.

Location: Charity Hill Farm, 9482 Golansville Rd, Ruther Glen, VA 22546

 

Harvest Wheat, Plant Double-Crop Soybean As Soon As Possible

The recent hot and dry weather is really drying the wheat down quickly.  We harvested our first wheat today (the moisture was ranging from 16 to 20%) and planted soybean immediately afterwards.  Just 2 days ago, the wheat grain moisture was in the mid-20’s!

That experiment is part of our ongoing efforts to harvest higher quality wheat and increase our double-crop soybean yields.  Now, I’m not advising you to harvest your wheat at 20% unless you have a buyer that will take it, preferably without a discount, or you have a way to dry down quickly.  High moisture wheat will heat up quickly and you will need to do something with it right away.

With that said, we have seen great benefits from harvesting higher moisture wheat and getting the soybean planted immediately.  Our Mid-Atlantic regional project conducted from 2015 thru 2017 found greater wheat yields and test weight, and greater soybean yields.  Our data is shown below.  Note that I’m only showing Virginia wheat data as the date where yield began declining differed among the states (this data was earlier as we moved south), but the general shape of the graph was similar.  Different colored symbols represent different years.

 

 

 

 

Note that our soybean yield usually start declining rapidly in mid-June.

In summary, there is benefit from harvesting wheat and planting soybean as soon as possible.  However, read the previous blog, To Plant or Not to Plant into Dry Soil, before making too many decisions.  Not only is our topsoil dry, but the wheat may have removed moisture much deeper – giving us little total soil moisture.

To Plant or Not To Plant Into Dry Soils

Rachel Vann, Extension Soybean Specialist – N.C. State University & David Holshouser, Extension Agronomist, Virginia Tech

Now that the weather has turned hot and dry, and with limited rainfall in the forecast over the next ten days, we are starting to get questions about continuing to plant soybeans or halting planting until we catch a rain. There is no consensus on what to do in this situation, but we aim to discuss the pros and cons of the different approaches in this blog post.

Soybean seed must take in 50% of its weight in water to initiate the germination process. Germination is not affected if the seed has imbibed water for 6 hours (seed is swollen, but seed coat in not broken), then it dehydrates to 10% moisture. If the seed has imbibed water for 12-24 hours (seed coat is broken but no radical has emerged) then dehydrates to 10%, germination may be reduced 35-40%. If the radical has emerged and the seed dehydrates to 10% moisture, few if any seedlings will survive (Holshouser, 2012). What we want to avoid with any approach discussed below is exposing the seed to enough moisture to start germination but not enough for the seed to get out of the ground.

The general optimum planting date range for planting soybeans across North Carolina was identified by Dr. Dunphy as May 1 to June 10. This optimum planting range varies from year-to-year based on rainfall, soil water holding capacity and soybean maturity, but the goal is to get the soybean plants to lap the middles before reproductive growth begins. We still have 10 more days before we get to the end of that optimum range this year and parts of the state have a chance for rain before June 10. Continuing to wait to plant is more of a concern for our growers who still have seed from early maturing varieties to plant (<MG5), as these varieties will have less time for vegetative growth prior to the beginning of reproductive development. The three major options growers in the region are facing are discussed below.

  1. Plant shallowly in the dry and hope for enough rain to get the seed out of the ground. If you decide to take this approach, you want to ensure you achieve uniform seed depth and that you are not allowing the seed access to moisture below the seed that could lead to variable emergence. This approach would be less risky in clean-tilled situation where you are more confident that you have dried the soil out at shallow depths. Dr. Dunphy said he has seen soybeans planted shallowly into dry conditions before that have sat in the ground >5 weeks and still had excellent emergence when rainfall occurred. The biggest risk with this approach is that you catch a small rain that allows the soybean seed to imbibe water but does not provide enough moisture to get the soybeans out of the ground. We would also suggest you exercise caution using this approach in a no-till situation where you would be more likely to see problems with lacking uniformity of moisture across the field leading to variable seed access to moisture and ultimately emergence variability. In many cases, part of the field will have adequate moisture to get the soybeans out of the ground, other parts will be completely dry as in tilled conditions, and much of the field will be in between. Those in-between areas are likely to have enough moisture to swell the seed and/or initiate germination but not have enough moisture to allow the seedling to emerge.    We have had several inquires on the impact of planting into dry conditions on soybean seed treatments. What we can say is that fungicidal seed treatments are less likely needed in this situation where we already have high soil temperatures and lacking soil moisture than they are in earlier planting situations where the soils are cool and wet.
  2. Plant deep to the moisture. Under most conditions, soybeans should be planted 0.75 to 1.5 inches deep. Soil temperatures are high enough right now to germinate and emerge quickly, even at deeper depths than recommended. But soybeans should not be planted deeper than 2 inches. We’ve talked to several growers and County Agents across the region who are not finding soil moisture until 3 to 4 inches deep; we definitely do not recommend planting this deep.  Growers should exercise caution using this approach if your soils are prone to crusting, because a heavy rainfall could seal the soil before the soybeans emerge. In addition, if the planter pushes the soil down a little in tilled conditions, creating a ridge of fluffy soil on each side, a heavy rain will cause this fluffy soil to move into that furrow and possibly add another ½ to 1 inches of soil to your depth.  If you are going to go this route, check the emergence score on the variety.
  3. Keep the seed in the bag until the next time we catch rain. This is the safest approach at this point. Based on historical data, we have another 10 days or so before we start seeing yield declines from delayed planting. Parts of the state have a chance of rain in the next 10 days. Data from recent research throughout the Mid-Atlantic shows that each day delay in planting past mid-June can result in a ½ bu/A or more yield loss and in general these yield declines begin in the second or third week of June; we still have some time before we get to that point.

Whatever decision a grower makes, uniform seed placement in critical to achieve uniform emergence and ensure each seed has as equal of access to water as possible. We have discussed the importance of uniform emergence in soybeans here: https://soybeans.ces.ncsu.edu/2019/04/how-important-is-uniform-emergence-in-soybeans/

In conclusion, there are advantages and disadvantages to each planting option discussed, but we still have time to plant soybeans in our region before we see drastic yield declines. All options discussed will likely result in delayed emergence due to environmental conditions.

Would Soybean Yields Rise If We Started Planting in April?

April planting is thought to have an advantage over May planting because we can shift the development of soybean to an earlier time of the year  where there is more sunlight.   More total sunlight per day should result in greater yields.  But, does this hold up in Virginia?  Likewise, an earlier variety will also shift maturity, and the critical stages of development, to a time of the year when the days are longer.  So in theory, planting early-maturing varieties early should result in the greatest yields.

My concern is that when you shift your development to earlier times of the year, you are also placing the most critical pod and seed development stages in a hotter and drier time of the year.  While you could possibly alleviate the dry part with irrigation, I know of no way to keep the temperature from rising.

To test these hypotheses, we planted 10 to 12 varieties ranging in maturity from late-3’s to early-6’s in April, May, and June at three Virginia locations in 2017 and 2018.  I’m not going to show the data because we found relative maturity responded differently depending on location, and it would just take up too much room to show all the graphs.  However, we have seen no benefit to planting soybean in April versus May, although April plantings did not usually yield less than May plantings.  Maturity group response depended more on location and when the rain fell.

So, I suggest that you base your planting date and or relative maturity decisions on your need to spread out planting or harvesting.  April planting date is OK, but not necessary for greater yields.  Keep in mind that soils are usually cooler in April, so it will normally take soybean longer to emerge than when planted in May.  Fungicides will be needed for April and early-May plantings.

Planting a slightly earlier maturing soybean is usually OK also.  For more information on maturity selection, see my previous blog, “Improving Your Soybean Variety Selection Decisions – What maturity is best?

If you do plant in April and/or want to use early-maturing varieties, then do this on your best soils.  If you move the critical stages of development to a hotter and drier time of the year, you’ll need the greater water-holding capacity of those soils.

Full-Season Soybean Seeding Rates: Maximize Your Yield and Reduce Your Risks

In general, high seed costs have resulted in a reduction in the number of soybean seed planted per acre.  For our full-season production system, most have reduced their seeding rate to 140,000 or less.  Some have even had success with rates as low as 80 to 100 thousand seed/acre.  My research over the years has shown that we only need, on average, about 70 to 80 thousand plants/acre to maximize our yield.  But is this too low? Yes, it could be – in some situations.

There is also interest in varying seeding rates.  I said many years ago that it appears that this is possible.  But our approach to variable-rate soybean seeding will be just the opposite of how we vary our rates with corn.  With corn, we increase seeding rate as our yield potential increases.  With soybean, we do just the opposite – we reduce our seeding rate as yield potential rises.  But, how much can we reduce seeding rate with rising yield potential?

To answer both questions – Is a final stand of 70 to 80 thousand plants too low? and How do I vary soybean seeding rates?, I analyzed over 10 years (over 25 experiments from 2003-2011) of on-farm and small-plot research to determine the optimal seeding rate for three different yield potentials.  The results along with my recommendations are shown below.

For low yields of 20-40 bushels/acre:

Plant 120 – 140 thousand seed /acre.

Why not less?  The data to the left indicates that the optimal seeding rate (area between the two vertical dotted lines) ranges between around 100 to 120 thousand seed/acre.  Why is this not my seeding rate.  There is too much variability in the data; therefore too much risk.  In some years, yields could have been reduced with this rate.  So, I’m hedging towards less risk at these yield potentials.

 

For medium yields of 40 to 55 bushels/acre:

Plant 100 – 120 thousand seed/acre.

You will notice that the optimal seeding rate has declined to around 90 to 110 thousand seed/acre.  Note that this is only about 10,000 seed less that the previous graph, but I lowered my recommendation by 20,000 seed.  Why?  There is little variability in these data; hence, I have more confidence.

 

 

For high yields of 55 to 70 bushels/acre:

Plant 90 to 110 thousand seed/acre.

Like low yield potentials, I’m starting to hedge a little here towards less risk although my data indicates that I can go lower.  There were cases where is took nearly 120,000 seed to get the maximum yields.

 

 

One comment that I get with these data is: “These data are old.  Does it still hold up with newer varieties?”  A good question!  So, I’ve conducted seeding rate experiments over the past 2 years and I’ll continue this coming year.  To summarize, the most recent data has not changed my recommendations – I think that these trends still hold true.  However, we did see some differences last year – a year of wet and cloudy conditions.  The data are below:

With our maturity group 4 trials, we saw yield continue to rise with seeding rate, and our yields were in the high range (about 50 to 60 bushels/acre).  But yields with the group 5 soybeans tended to level off at about 120 thousand seed/acre.   Why a different response and why did maturity group matter?

 

 

I think the answer is lack of sunlight.  Total photosynthetically-active radiation interception differences are one of the reasons that we get yield responses to seeding rate.  In most cases, this is a lack of leaf area; we are not intercepting all the light.  But, this was not the case in 2019.  We had what I normally consider enough leaf area, at least enough for a sunny year.  But we had less light in 2019.  The group 5 soybean did have more leaf area than the group 4 soybean; I’m assuming that these few extra leaves made up a little for the lack of light.  Cloudiness is one of the risks we take.  Still, I won’t change my recommendations based on last year since it was rather unusual.

In conclusion, if you want to chose the best full-season seeding rate in Virginia for your yield potential, my recommendations are:

Low yields: 120 to 140 thousand seed/acre

Medium yields: 100 to 120 thousand seed/acre

High yields: 90 to 110 thousand seed/acre

 

Herbicide Resistant Weeds Workshops Slated for Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware

A series of half-day workshops will be held in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia this winter for farmers interested in learning about the problems of herbicide resistant weeds and how to manage them. Hosted by University of Maryland Extension in collaboration with Virginia Tech and University of Delaware, these workshops are designed to equip farmers with the knowledge to improve weed control on their farms.

Farmers in the mid-Atlantic area are starting to see the impact of herbicide resistant weeds on their crop yields. With many problematic weeds now found throughout the region it is essential that farmers learn the key management strategies to control these weeds.

Sessions will cover integrated weed management tactics; palmer amaranth, common ragweed and marestail control strategies; and developing a weed management plan. There is no charge to attend and lunch will be provided. Pesticide (commercial and private) and CCA continuing education credits will be offered.

Workshop locations and times are listed below. Please RSVP to the respective meeting location to provide an accurate meal count.

February 25th (12 pm to 5 pm) Old Beale Sanctuary, 369 Queen Street,Tappahannock, VA 22560

To register call the Essex County Extension Office: at (804) 443-3551

February 26th (8 am to 1 pm) St. Mary’s County UME Office, 26737 Radio Station Way, Leonardtown, MD 20650. To register call the St. Mary’s County UME Office at 301-475- 4484

March 4th (8 am to 1 pm) Harrington Volunteer Fire Company, 20 Clark St, Harrington, DE 19952. To register call the UD Carvel REC, at 302-856-2585 (ext 540)

March 5th (8 am to 1 pm) Somerset Extension Office, 30730 Park Drive, Princess Anne, MD 21853. To register call the Somerset County Extension Office at 410- 651-1350

March 6th (8  am to 1 pm) Frederick County UME Office, 330 Montevue Lane, Frederick, MD 20712. To register, call the Frederick County UME Office at 301-600- 3576

March 7th (8 am to 1 pm) Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company, 211 Maple Ave, Chestertown, MD 21620. To register call the Kent County UME Office at 410-778- 1661

For more information contact Ben Beale at 301-475-4481, Michael Flessner at 540-315-2954, Matt Morris at 301-600-3578 or Mark VanGessel at 302-856-7303.

Dicamba Training Opportunities

If you intend to apply Engenia, Xtendimax, or FeXapan this year, you need to complete the annual dicamba specific training requirement in addition to being a certified pesticide applicator. In Virginia, this training is conducted by the registrants (manufacturers), but can also be completed in another state including registrant training, state mandated training, and state approved training. Both in person and online training is acceptable. Training is not product specific; you do not have to take the training from the registrant of the product you apply.

Make sure to document your training.

Here are links to find a training event near you or complete online:
BASF

Bayer

Corteva

University of Nebraska

Please note that some some events require pre-registration.

The following links are under revision for 2019 but will be useful shortly:
Mississippi State Extension