Soybean South

 - From the Editor -

By Carroll Smith
Editor

Soybeans have been a staple crop in the South for a long time. In some cases, it is the main crop for a Southern operation, but typically soybeans are rotated with high-input crops like cotton and rice.

In the past, farmers typically planted everything else, then got their beans in the ground. Although it wasn’t a recommended practice, I have seen beans planted on July 4. As I recall, it was in the 1970s when soybean prices soared, and at $10 a bushel, farmers could make money even with low yields.

Today, unfortunately, we’re not seeing 1970s’ prices. What we are seeing is a tremendous increase in Southern soybean yield potential as varieties suited to this region continue to improve. Because choosing the best ones for your operation is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, it pays to review the results of variety yield trials found on each of the university Web sites and at your county agent’s office.

Some states, such as Arkansas, have taken soybean variety selection a step further with a computer program developed by Extension specialists. The program is updated each year to help you select the best varieties based on individual field history.

Like varieties, Southern soybean management practices have evolved, too. On page 4, read why more of our producers are planting earlier, and on page 6, see the difference that production practices and increased inputs have made for a father-and-son team in Dundee, Miss.

I also invite you to check out our Southern Specialists. We appreciate Dr. Chris Tingle from Arkansas and Alabama’s Dennis Delaney contributing this month’s comments and look forward to hearing from other Southern soybean specialists in upcoming issues.

Soybean rust Web site
Like Soybean South, another good source of Southern soybean information – specifically soybean rust – is www.soyrust.org.

This Web site is a collaboration among personnel at Auburn University, the University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, the University of Missouri and the University of Tennessee. The site contains rust information, control strategies and sentinel plot information.

Also included at www.soyrust.com are links to each of the participating university Web sites and state recommendations. For a “big picture” overview, the site provides a link to a nationwide tracking system. Contact information for each state also is available on the site. Be sure to check it out.

In addition to www.soyrust.org, we also invite you to visit www.cottonfarming.com and www.ricefarming.com to view archived issues, news releases, links to other sites, special programs and exclusive content.

In the meantime, Tommy Horton and I wish you happy holidays and hope that you enjoy your new issue of Soybean South, designed exclusively with Southern soybean producers in mind.