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• August, unfortunately, brought only a few days of warm, sunny weather and a continuation of long periods of rainfall and cloudy weather, which will further delay late-planted crops.
• Even with early maturing varieties, growers planting beans or sorghum in July were pushing the envelope for freezing temperatures and frost.
JULY-PLANTED soybeans can make a crop and a profit, but the risk is high, says North Carolina State's Ron Heiniger.
Weed competition a problem
For late-planted soybeans, Holshouser says weed competition may be the single biggest threat to producing a profitable yield.
In general, he says, anything that slows the soybean plant down is going to be magnified when beans are planted in late-July and in some cases early-August. Everything has to fit just perfectly to make a decent yield, he says.
Manganese deficiency has popped up this year in Virginia, he adds, but other nutrient deficiencies might also slow down the crop.
“We are seeing a number of yellow leaf symptoms this year, so the first objective is to know what problem you have. If it’s a nutrient deficiency, treat it sooner rather than later to avoid slowing the plant down,” he says.
If growers planted beans or sorghum in July on more productive soils with good water holding capacity, their chances of making a profit is better. If growers planted either crop in mud, even on good soils, the chances of a decent crop are significantly less.
Fountain says in his area of North Carolina another critical question may determine who does and who doesn’t make money with late-planted beans or sorghum.
That question is, “What is your deer pressure in relation to your weed pressure.” “High deer pressure favors grain sorghum plantings and high weed pressure might favor grain sorghum plantings, but high weed pressure also might favor no crop,” he adds.
Risk is the over-riding factor for such late-planting of either crop, Heiniger says.
Regardless of whether they planted soybeans or grain sorghum late into July, growers across the Upper Southeast will be keeping a close eye on weather reports, hoping for a late fall and late frost.