With over 1.5 million acres of wheat planted last fall in the Upper Southeast, the opportunities for double-cropping were huge this summer, and though unprecedented rainfall and myriad weather related problems put a damper on some of these plans, experts contend there is still a good chance to make a profit on ultra-late planted soybeans and grain sorghum.

“I’ve seen soybeans planted in late July make 40 bushels per acre, and I’ve seen them do much worse than that, too, says North Carolina State University Soybean Specialist Jim Dunphy. 

For beans planted after the first week in July, weather will be a critical factor on how well the crop does or doesn’t do, he adds.

In Virginia, Extension Soybean Specialist David Holshouser says 35 bushels per acre for soybeans planted in mid-July isn’t a guarantee, but it can happen. Even beans planted in early August can make a crop, but the risk is high, he says.

North Carolina State Corn and Small Grain Specialist Ronnie Heiniger says the outlook for late-planted grain sorghum is much the same as soybeans.  Whether growers chose soybeans or grain sorghum to plant late likely came down to simple economics.

A recent crop analysis by North Carolina State University Ag Economist Nick Piggott showed a fixed cost for soybeans to be $246 per acre, compared to $206 per acre for grain sorghum.

“I’ve seen sorghum planted the last week in July make 60-70 bushels per acre and growers can make a little money at that level of production,” Heiniger says.

“From now (late-July) until harvest time, it is critical that grain sorghum gets enough moisture, but maybe more important is that it gets enough sunlight,” the North Carolina State specialist says.