Late-planted Soybeans Still Have Time to Mature

Soybeans are off to a slow start in the southeast with many acres still to be planted. NC State Extension Soybean Specialist Dr. Jim Dunphy:

“We got some beans in in May, and by and large those beans look good and are doing okay. The June and July planted beans are spotty we got some good fields and we got some bad fields, we got some fields that are both. And the beans that are having the most trouble, by and large, are in the wet spots, the low spots of the field. They’ve had just too much water, the plants that are there having to deal with the fact that down where the roots are trying to grow, the soils are waterlogged, and they just can’t get enough air, can’t do their thing, and beans are responding accordingly.”

As far as potential abandoned acres, Dunphy says he’s not anticipating many:

“We still got some fields that were intended to go to beans that as of the last week of July here still haven’t been planted, and it will be interesting to see what happens with those, whether they’ll plant them or not, and I suspect both. Its probably late enough, its not likely to be a profitable crop, but pure profit of the crop is not the only reason for planting them, weed control is another reason.”

So, if a farmer were to plant soybeans this week, would there be time for them to mature?:

“Surprisingly, probably yes, or come closer than we originally think we do. Soybeans are sensitive to day length, they have a built-in calendar they know they’re late and they’ll shorten up the amount from planting to harvest, in fact they can shorten it up quite a bit, and they can get clear down to 100 days from planting to harvest, and in a lot of areas in the state we’ve got a good chance of making that.”

Unfortunately, Dunphy doesn’t have a recommendation for farmers planting wet and late needing to speed up maturity:

“We’ve done very little work, in fact virtually none, in terms of replicated research trials on how we help that crop a long, so I’ve got nothing in the way of solid recommendation that I’m comfortable with. We’ve got farmers that are going to try to speed that up and its gets obvious…consider adding a fertilizer or fungicide or something but whether that will really help I simply don’t know. I hope the folks that do try something let us know how it works out.”

If your considering mudding seed in, Dunphy has one word…don’t:

“Dry enough to hold the equipment. If we can put the tractor and the planter in there without putting ruts in there then its probably quote un-quote dry enough to plant…as far as the seeds are concerned. So, it’s probably more of a matter of the soil is dry enough to hold the equipment, if it is, it’s probably dry enough to plant. I’d hate to see a farmer mud a crop in, get in there where its really too wet to hold the equipment. The damage to the soil is probably great enough that it probably wasn’t worth doing.”

Dr. Jim Dunphy, NC State Small Grain Specialist. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.