Make Time to Scout Soybean Fields

INDIANAPOLIS — June 8, 2010 — As soon as a soybean seed is in the ground, it is working to establish itself in the soil and optimize yield potential. Early scouting to identify emergence issues, weed outbreaks and damaging insects can help growers to implement timely management practices to help protect the yield potential of their young crop.

Soybean growers should develop a scouting plan to monitor the crop condition throughout the season. It’s important to examine multiple places in the field to get an overall analysis and identify problem areas.

“Scouting starts with taking stand counts,” says Travis Belt, Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist. “This is an ideal time to check that your planter is working well and the crop is coming up uniformly. If there are issues, keep a record of what went wrong so you can adjust your equipment next season — or even for this year, if you have more fields to plant.”

Emergence issues also can be related to soil-borne diseases such as pythium or phytopthora, which are difficult to manage once the plant is infected. If no seed treatment was used and the disease has infected several plants, replanting may be necessary, if stand counts and crop conditions warrant. Make note of all fields with disease pressure and adjust your planting plan next season to consider the importance of a seed treatment.

Weeds compete with young seedlings for water and nutrients, making early season weed scouting important, too.

“Young, small soybeans can lose a high percentage of yield potential when the crop has to compete with weeds,” Belt says. “Early season weed control is an important part of a successful herbicide program.”

SONIC® herbicide provides broad-spectrum preemergence control of key broadleaf weeds and is an excellent choice for a first pass program in a Roundup Ready® soybean crop.

In addition to diseases and weed pressure, several insects can threaten soybean yield early in the season, including bean leaf beetle and soybean aphids.

“Bean leaf beetles cause the most damage during the early season because they begin feeding on the plant as soon as the cotyledon emerges out of the ground. When the crop emerges, scout for bean leaf beetles and if you find them, spray as soon as they reach the economic threshold,” Belt says.

Soybean aphids near midseason also are possible, mostly in the northern Corn Belt. Pay attention to local university reports to know which insects are active in your geography and scout accordingly.

Both COBALT® insecticide and LORSBAN® Advanced insecticide are effective options for broad-spectrum insect control in soybeans. Thresholds for treatment vary depending on the stage of plant growth. If you are unsure of treatment recommendations, consult a local crop consultant to help evaluate the damage.

The time to scout soybeans is now. For more tips on how to identify insects and disease symptoms, contact your local Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.