The 9th installment of Louisiana Rice Field Notes is now available. This is the second flood edition this week. This edition covers recommendations on how to proceed with harvest with all of the flood damaged rice, a very important proposed changed to the crop insurance “practical to replant” definition and the final planting dates (FPD) for rice, corn, sorghum, cotton and soybeans, and an important flood recovery meeting in Crowley tomorrow.
One of the most important decisions producers must make when planting soybeans in Louisiana is planting date. Soybeans have the utility to be planted in early March to late June. This wide variation in planting dates exposes seedling soybeans to a multitude of insect pests that affect both above and below ground plant structures.
Optimal seeding dates for each maturity group planted in Louisiana are:
- Group III – April 15–May 10
- Group IV – April 15–May 10
- Group V – March 25–May 5
- Group VI – March 25–April 30
Soybean seedlings possess an exceptional amount of vigor and can tolerate a substantial amount of insect injury during the seedling stage. However, early planted soybeans may also encounter greater amounts of environmental fluctuations that affect air and soil temperature. Cool conditions can negatively affect vigor and under the right conditions stall plant growth and development. The addition of insect injury, to the aforementioned environmental conditions, increases stress the plant encounters resulting in loss of stand and yield potential. Therefore, the inclusion of an insecticide seed treatment (IST) provides growers a risk management tool when soybeans are planted early. The primary insect pests of early planted soybeans are bean leaf beetles, wireworms and grape colaspis.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are soybeans planted late i.e. behind wheat or are late due to unforeseen circumstances such as inadequate or excessive soil moisture. These beans are more at risk for insect injury due to the potential for large insect populations to build in neighboring fields and generally more insects present in the environment. As a general rule with all agronomic crops, the later the crop the more insect pressure that will be encountered throughout the season. This is particularly evident when soybeans are planted into wheat stubble. Wheat stubble is favorable for the development of threecornered alfalfa hoppers and thrips. Thus, an IST is a sound investment when soybeans are planted late.
However, soybeans planted in a timely manner that being within the recommended planting window, under optimal soil conditions and low pest densities will often not benefit from the addition of an IST. Insecticide seed treatments typically produce the most benefits when environmental conditions are sub optimal as outlined in the prior paragraphs. With the current economic climate and many ag professionals looking at areas to cut inputs, justifying the use of an IST on soybeans when planted under optimal conditions becomes harder to support. Saving the cost of an IST can go to making a stink bug application later season that may provide a greater economic return.
Outside of early or late planted soybeans are situations where ISTs are justifiable. These include weedy fields with incomplete burn down applications, reduced tillage field arrangements, fields with historically problematic early insect pests (wireworms and/or threecornered alfalfa hoppers) and continuous plantings of one crop. Each field is unique and the use of ISTs as a blanket treatment over every acre may not be justifiable with $8 soybeans.
Dr. Ronnie Levy: LSU AgCenter Soybean Specialist
For more information please contact Dr. Ronnie Levy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Professor, Field Crop Pathology, Macon Ridge Research Station
Over the past two weeks, I have received many phone calls and conducted numerous field visits concerning black root rot of soybean. The suspected causal agent is Thielaviopsis basicola, which has primarily been described as a seedling disease of cotton. In 2009, the disease was described as a disease of vegetative soybean in Arkansas (http://www.apsnet.org/publications/plantdisease/2010/September/Pages/94_9_1168.1.aspx) and has been mentioned as an issue in Mississippi over the past several years (http://www.mississippi-crops.com/2014/08/01/soybean-disease-update-august-1-2014/). Information concerning late-season (R5-R6) symptoms and epidemiology of black root rot is limited.
During pod fill foliar symptoms of black root rot become obvious in soybean fields (below, Plate 1).
These symptoms are easily noticed from the turnrow, and upon closer inspection, interveinal chlorosis is evident with leaf veins remaining green (Plates 2 & 3). Inspection below the canopy in the center of the affected area will usually reveal one or several plants that died earlier in the season (Plate 4).
Apparently, these dead plants go unnoticed because the death occurred during vegetative or early reproductive stages, and adjacent plants quickly covered them. Surviving, infected plants adjacent to the dead plants will be stunted and displaying these foliar symptoms (Plate 5).
Affected plants may snap-off at the soil line when pulled. When plants are excised, roots are black in color (below, Plate 6).
Splitting stems near the crown will reveal white fungal growth in the center of the stem (below, Plate 7). Additionally, infected black plant stems from the previous season are often observed near infected roots.
We have isolated what appears to be Thielaviopsis basicola from diseased roots using a selective medium, and are currently working to confirm identity and pathogenicity. The effects of fungicide seed treatments and in-furrow sprays are unknown. Varietal susceptibilities are currently unknown; however, the official variety trial at Dean Lee Research Station is significantly affected by black root rot and will be rated in an attempt to identify sources of resistance. Additionally, greenhouse screenings may be conducted this winter to corroborate rating information.
This fungus has a broad host range and survives in the soil for long periods of time. Apparently, conditions have been optimal for disease development this year. Incidence in most fields has been <1%; however, in some fields that have been planted to soybean continuously for several years and in a minimum/no till program, incidence has been as high as 10%. This does not necessarily translate to a 10% loss, as affected plants will have the ability to produce some seed depending on disease severity. Anecdotal evidence indicates that rotation to corn will lessen disease incidence. Other diseases/conditions that we have seen this year that may be confused with black root rot include: red crown rot, sudden death syndrome, and triazole burn (Plates 8, 9, 10, and 11).
Plate 9. Red crown rot fruiting structures on soybean.
Over the past two weeks, many reports of frogeye leaf spot have been coming in from all soybean growing areas in the state. Overall disease severity in susceptible varieties has been light to moderate. The disease is caused by a fungus, Cercospora sojina, and has the potential to reduce yield by reducing leaf area and causing defoliation. Losses of up to 30% have been reported in the past. The disease may also cause discoloration of seed reducing seed quality. When scouting for frogeye, initial foliar symptoms are dark, water-soaked spots (1 to 5 mm) which later progress to lesions with gray to brown centers and reddish margins. Symptoms will be evident usually around R3, but may appear earlier or later. The disease may progress with more lesions developing, which may coalesce resulting in large necrotic areas on leaves. If infection is severe, frogeye may cause defoliation of soybeans. Young leaves are infected more readily than older leaves, and patterns of varying degrees of disease severity may be observed within canopy levels. Closer examination with a hand lens, or sometimes with the naked eye, will reveal gray to black conidiophores (reproductive structures) within the center of lesions. The disease is spread by windblown or rain-splashed conidia (spores) formed on the conidiophores. Conditions favorable for disease development have been prevalent in our current weather pattern of consistent rainfall, high humidity, and warm temperatures.
Frogeye leaf spot may be managed by a number of methods. The first line of defense is planting a resistant variety and pathogen-free seed. Although our data is limited on varietal susceptibility, in 2013, we were able to rate soybean varieties for frogeye at Dean Lee Research Station in Alexandria. Results of those ratings are posted at: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/MCMS/RelatedFiles/%7B271517B6-5563-4FB9-BF4F-3D211119F027%7D/Dean-Lee-OVT.pdf. Another list from our friends in Mississippi and Tennessee is located at: http://www.mississippi-crops.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013-soybean-short-list-frogeye-responses.pdf. If your variety of interest was not included in these sources, please contact your seed representative for more information.
Sometimes a fungicide application may be warranted for management of frogeye leaf spot in susceptible varieties when disease severity is moderate to heavy and conditions favor disease development. One important consideration when making application decisions is the fact that strobilurin fungicide resistance is likely in this pathogen population, and has been confirmed in 9 parishes in Louisiana. Even if strobilurin resistance has not been confirmed in your parish and if strobilurin fungicides have been routinely applied in the area, it is likely that the majority of the pathogen population has become resistant. In some cases we have seen reduced efficacy of strobilurin fungicides (Aproach, Evito, Gem, Headline and Quadris) on frogeye leaf spot. In our trials in 2013 and others conducted throughout the United States, we have seen consistent reductions in disease severity when using triazole products such as Domark, Proline, and Topguard. Additionally, pre-mixes containing these triazoles have shown reductions in disease severity. Data is limited for Louisiana, and we have trials at several research stations examining fungicide efficacy for these products as well as many others not listed.
Other considerations should include application coverage as it relates to nozzle type and water volume. Fungicides usually require a minimum of 10 gallons/A by ground and 5 gallons/A by air. Hollow cone or flat fan nozzles are recommended to achieve optimum droplet size. When applying fungicides, rotate chemistries to avoid resistance issues and prolong the usefulness of products. Please do not hesitate to contact LSU AgCenter via your parish agent, specialist, or nearest research station for additional information.
Josh Lofton, LSU AgCenter, Wheat Specialist and Field Crop Agronomist
Steve Harrison, LSU AgCenter, Small Grain Breeder
It’s the time of year where we will start to see combines rolling through wheat fields around the state. In fact, while we have been one to two weeks behind normal growth for much of the season, recent dry weather across the state has led to a rapid dry-down and, as a result, many locations in south Louisiana have already begun harvesting. Initial reports from these regions indicate yields have been very promising, with little noticeable influence from this last winter. The majority of north Louisiana has yet to begin harvest, with the majority of fields five to 15 days from beginning harvest. By the look of the crop, it can be expected that yield will potentially be as promising as those being seen in south Louisiana.
As the wheat crop is beginning to wind down, many producers across the state will begin to look toward the successive crop. For a majority of these wheat acres, this will be double-crop soybeans. One of the most important stages in double-crop production systems is the transition from the winter crop to the summer crop. To optimize the soybean yields, a quick and efficient transition is critical. One aspect that will influence this transition is wheat residue management. While most managers will want to manage the residue in a similar manner between years and locations, it is essential that residue management decisions be made individually. The two most commonly used management options for wheat residue management are no-tillage into standing wheat residue and no-tillage into burned wheat stubble. While burning of wheat residue has received substantial negative publicity in recent years, there are conditions and circumstances where it has the potential to be the best management decision. When deciding which management practice to use for each individual system, managers should look at the current growing conditions and previous typical conditions. The recent dry conditions have aided in wheat dry-down. However, it may have detrimental impacts on the successive soybean crop. While these dry conditions will be detrimental in different residue management conditions, these conditions are amplified when the wheat residue is burned ahead of the soybean planting. Therefore, if soils are dry, caution should be used if wheat residue burning is intended. Additionally, while the chance of precipitation in the latter part of the week is always in flux, if wet conditions return, this will also influence management. No-tillage into standing wet wheat stubble can negatively influence planting practices and could result in delayed or poor soybean stands. However, wet wheat stubble will burn inconsistently and potentially, again, negatively influence stand and emergence.
While we have a potentially very productive wheat crop finishing, producers and managers in double-crop systems must already be thinking toward the successive soybean crop. While these double-crop systems can be very productive and profitable, increased management is essential, and residue management is one of the most critical issues.
This spring has brought us cool weather, wet/dry spells, and now potassium deficiencies. We have mainly been hearing about corn and soybean potassium deficiencies on the Macon Ridge. However, this does not mean that they are not showing up throughout our alluvial soils.
Potassium is very important for water use efficiency in crops. This means that irrigation on the fields showing deficiency symptoms will need to be managed diligently. There are a few reasons that symptoms could be showing up: 1) Dry soils, 2) Compaction, 3) Low soil test K, and 4) Reduced early-season root growth. Potassium cannot be taken up efficiently in the soil without the presence of water, which can cause a deficiency to appear even if adequate potassium was applied to the soil. Compaction can also cause a potassium deficiency to appear because the roots are not able to find enough potassium in the un-compacted soil. If a soil sample is collected and the results show that the soil is low in potassium, then the recommended amount of potassium should be applied after the current cropping season. Lastly, due to some of the weather that was experienced this spring, there could have been reduced root growth in spots affected by standing water or cold weather. This reduced root growth creates a smaller zone of potassium available to the plants.
Deficiency symptoms in corn and soybeans are denoted by edge of leaf necrosis.
Currently, the LSU AgCenter soil fertility research group does not currently have data on the yield benefits of foliar-applied potassium. Furthermore, research throughout the region has shown little to no yield benefits for foliar potassium applications. Additionally, if yield benefits are seen, there is a chance that the cost of application will often outweigh any yield benefit. Therefore, caution should be used prior to any in-season foliar potassium application. If a foliar K is going to be added, follow the label carefully due to the chance of leaf burn.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Beatrix Haggard, Northeast Region Soil Specialist: (318) 498-2967
Josh Lofton, Agronomist: (318) 498-1934
Dan Fromme, Corn and Cotton Specialist: (318)880-8079