Soybeans Looking Good at the Halfway Point


We’re right at or just over halfway to the finish line with soybeans in the southeast.  NC State Extension Soybean Specialist, Dr. Jim Dunphy takes a look at the progress of the crop:

“By and large the state crop looks really good, better than it did just a few weeks ago.  The full season beans have looked good, in general, all season long.  They got in and got some growth and got some rainfall to do what they needed to do, and they look pretty good.

“The double crop beans are across the board.  We’ve got some really good looking ones, and some that are pretty short.  And a lot of that relates back to the weather and the pest problems we had back in July, we had some areas, some significant areas of the state that had a hard time getting wheat harvest in.  That same weather is going to make it hard to get soybeans planted behind the wheat they’re trying to harvest.  Some areas got too much water, some areas were too dry to get that crop up and started.  And the deer found a few, and the slugs found a few, some of those fields got replanted, our double crop beans are typically all over the board. 

“They’re running short of time, and we know they are, it depends on if they get good weather or bad weather.  If they get good weather, that’s good, and if they get bad, that’s bad, obviously, and some areas will have both.  So, we see a mixed bag on how good our double crop beans look.

“The weather the last couple of months have more to do with how those crops end up than the first couple of months.  So, we’re just really getting into the serious part of the season.  We’ve got some beans, few beans, particularly in the east part of the state that are earlier than what we usually think of for the eastern part of the state, that are earlier than we usually think of for growing in North Carolina, they’re a little further a long, they’re in that critical two months, well into in some cases.  But, about two-thirds of our state’s crop are just starting to set pods, or have set pods fairly recently, at least most of them have started blooming.  But, we’ve got about a third of the state’s crop that haven’t started setting pods yet, so they’re going to be very dependent on the weather and they’re running short of time if you put a pencil to it, here we are a little past the middle of August, so if we’re looking for two months of growth, that’s the middle of October, and we’ll have some combines running then, not many, but some. 

“By then, we’ll be working with shorter days and cooler temperatures, and so forth, and so on, so we’d like to have as much of that crop made by then, as we can.  But, there’s been enough rains in the last few weeks, statewide, more of our beans look pretty good than they did a few weeks ago.”

Jim, we have heard that as corn harvest has progressed, that a few worms are leaping out of the corn fields and into soybean and cotton fields.

“That appears to be true.  They probably started with cotton and went to cotton first, and they realized had some widespread problems with corn earworm in cotton before we did soybeans, but soybeans are only about a week behind cotton.  And now, with a significant portion of corn coming out of the field which is taking the food source away from those worms, they’ve moved into alternate crops, so in this case its cotton and soybeans.  So, it’s become a problem.    So, we’ve got to scout every field and make sure that its corn ear worm, and not something that looks kind of like it, and respond accordingly. Just because we have a widespread problem doesn’t mean that you’ve got it in your field, and if you don’t have the problem in your field, there’s no point in wasting the money on it. 

“If you do have it in your field there’s no point in refusing to scout it and find it, because they can do some significant yield damage.  So, you want to know if they’re there, and you know what to do if they are there and we get them found.  But, we’ve got to find them and identify them.

“We’re fortunate with soybeans that we’ve got no significant insect pests that we cannot control if we can find and identify them.  We don’t have to use an insecticide beforehand to keep them from coming in.  We can wait and see what happens and see what Mother Nature does control and what she doesn’t and help her out if she needs help, and if she doesn’t need help let her do it.  That’s cheap.  So, we’re fortunate with soybeans that we can afford to do that, some other crops we can afford to do that, but we can with soybeans.”

For more from Dr. Jim Dunphy, NC State Extension Soybean Specialist, visit our website, SFNToday dot com.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.