The numbers, plus anyone with any knowledge of grain crops, and who has seen late summer beans in those states will tell you a one bushel per acre drop in average yield is much, much too low.

In the Upper Southeast, growers harvested a record wheat crop in North Carolina and bigger than usual crops in South Carolina and Virginia.

If beans were planted behind most of these acres, they would have been planted in what for most of the region was a fairly normal season weather-wise.

Plus, they would have benefitted from weather conditions highly conducive to soybean production in most areas.

Exactly how many acres of beans were planted behind wheat is tough to determine.

In general, the warm winter led to early planted and early maturing wheat, which would indicate an earlier than usual harvest and earlier than usual planting of double-crop beans. If that is the case, most of the crop will be beyond the growth stage that makes it most vulnerable to yield limiting diseases, especially Asian Soybean Rust.

Soybean growers across the Upper Southeast have dodged a bullet with soybean rust so far this year, though tropical systems, most likely a result of the end of the La Niña weather pattern in place the past two years, still pose a threat to late planted soybeans.

On Aug. 28, soybeanrust was confirmed in a field of Maturity Group VII soybeans in Reeveville, S.C.  This location is roughly half way between Columbia and Charleston, S.C. 

This put a number of late-planted, double-crop beans in jeopardy in the lower half of South Carolina.

“We do not recommend spraying soybeans with a fungicide to control Asian Soybean Rust if they are not yet blooming, if they are blooming, but rust has not been confirmed within 100 miles, or if full sized seeds are present in the top of the plant (stage R6),” says North Carolina State University Soybean Specialist Jim Dunphy.

Even late-planted, double-crop beans in most of the state will be past the bloom stage, if rust continues to move south to north at its current pace.

However, powerful tropical storms could dramatically change the northward movement of disease-causing spores.

Whether or not the high value of soybeans this year means more growers will apply fungicides in an effort to keep disease damage to a minimum is not clear.

For growers contemplating the use of fungicides for insurance against soybean rust, Dunphy says, pre-bloom applications have seldom improved yields, and repeated applications will likely be needed to provide season-long protection against rust. 

The higher labeled rates tend to provide more days of prevention, and may thus require fewer applications. 

The triazole fungicides, alone or in combination with a strobilurin fungicide, will probably provide better prevention of rust than a strobilurin alone, he adds.

The true value of this year’s soybean crop in the Southeast won’t truly be known until beans are in the bin and contracted. However, heading into the final few weeks of soybean production in the region, beans have high value and chances for a good profit are really good.

rroberson@farmpress.com