Not so long ago, deciding what to plant was easy, you just followed the money, but Dr. Jim Dunphy, NC State Extension soybean specialist says not so this year, for a couple of reasons:
“I think a couple of things; with the price of soybeans, soybeans look pretty attractive, but so do some other crops. In fact, we’ve got several crops with prices we’re not used to looking at, and as our growers consider the mix of crops that they want, that’s a source of indecision. I think the other source of indecision is the possibility of sorghum.”
As we’ve heard many say over the last few months, Dunphy says that sorghum acres may be dictated by seed availability:
“There’s a fair amount of interest in sorghum this year, appears we’re going to have a market for it, and perhaps a pretty good market. I think we’ll probably end up planting as much sorghum in North Carolina as we have seed for, and I’m not sure how much that is. But, I think we’ll see the sorghum acres go up significantly, and much of it, at the expense of soybeans. There’s go guarantees that it’s going to come out of soybeans, either, they may shift to that, and put soybeans back in some other ones and some other crop bears the brunt of where the sorghum acres come from.”
We’ve also been hearing of late of an irrigation boom in the Carolinas. Dunphy says that for a producer that’s not interested in making the capital investment into irrigation, soybeans may still be the best choice:
“Soybeans are an old crop, they’ve been around for quite a while in the world. And as such, they’re pretty tolerant crop, they can tolerate a lot of adversity, including dry weather. That being the case, they don’t respond well to alleviation to that stress, if we irrigate to alleviate the dry weather, they’re not particularly responsive because they didn’t suffer a whole lot in the first place. So, I don’t’ see many acres of soybeans getting irrigation.
We have seen success in irrigating soybeans to avoid disaster, to keep the plants from dying. But, we have not been very successful in getting a profitable yield response from irrigating beans that are not facing disaster. That’s one of the reason our soybean acreage is as high as it is. They are pretty adaptable, the do a pretty good job of tolerating the dry weather.”
As far as seed availability for soybeans, which is an issue this year for other crops, Dunphy says that the newer varieties may be in short supply, but otherwise, the selection should still be good right up until planting.
Image courtesy UGA.edu