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3 Soybean Decisions For July

Jul 13, 2020

By Jeff Blauwet, CFE Technical Agronomist

Fungicides, insecticides and foliar feed products you need to conisider: 

1. Fungicides

Believe it or not, soybean decision time is upon us already!  We will be looking at many bean fields reaching the growth stage – R3 (beginning pod) by mid-July.  This generally happens 7-14 days later but beans planted in late-April and the first week of May, and then the weather we have had they march along fast.  R3 is generally the time when we get the best ROI on fungicide applications in beans.  Our Innovation Trials, with 8 years of local replicated data, has shown an average of 3.8 bu response to the newer fungicides.

The number of nodes and flowers we are seeing in early July is unlike anything I can remember. The way the beans look in the field, I believe the amount of yield potential we have is way above average. With this yield potential being above average we are not guaranteed for an above average yield increase, but it is probable. If we get an average yield response, fungicides are profitable even at $8.25/bu beans, but an above average response would be a nice ROI.

Keep in mind our fungicides are doing several things for our beans and they are NOT all equal. The Strobilurin class (group 11) of fungicides is giving us what is called the “Plant Health Effect,” in that it not only helps with preventing several diseases, but it also suppresses the bean’s production of ethylene. Ethylene is a plant’s reaction to stress hormone the beans produce that can reduce the bean’s focus on producing yield. The Triazole class (group 3) of fungicides helps stop some diseases that may have just infected the plant. The newer SDHI class (group 7) also works by preventing infection from diseases. The SDHI’s are important in that several diseases are becoming resistant to the Strobes, much like we have battled in the herbicide-resistant weed arena.  Thus, the newer fungicide combos are a better agronomic play as they generally contain at least two but likely all three of these modes of action.  Do not expect consistent results with some of the older generic products that generally contain one mode of action and older less effective active ingredients.  Fungicides follow a common law of life—you generally get what you pay for.

2. Foliar Feed Products

Producing high yields may take a little more fuel for the plant to fill more grain.  If seems to get that last 10% of the yield (especially in high yield years) we are asking that plant to do an awful lot in a short amount of time.  We have an opportunity to consider a foliar feed to help that plant out for a small window in time.  We have 7 years of local replicated data with our preferred foliar feed micronutrient package Max-In® Beans showing an average of 2.2 bu/ac response.  We also have 4 years of data on foliar nitrogen showing a 2.3 bu/ac response.

We have likely all noticed in our soybeans that we abort > 50% of the flowers a plant produces.  This happens even in the highest fertility soil environments.  The yield-contest type guys produce great yields by trying to keep more flowers several ways and one is trying to feed that plant another way. Foliar feeding is one of the ways. You cannot get a lot of nutrient volume into the plant by foliar feeding but, with micronutrients, you do not need them in large volumes to make a difference.  Some of those gaps being filled can add bushels. Nitrogen need is HUGE during late podding and grain fill and any additional nitrogen you can get into the plant can help at that time of year. Much like fungicides, I expect a good chance for an above average response with our top-end potential this year.

3. Insecticides

Insects in beans have not been an issue yet but that can change, and we need to keep observing the crop. If we turn dry like the forecast keeps talking about, grasshoppers & spider mites would be of top concern. If we stay moist and have lush growth, aphids and several different species of worms would be the ones to watch for. With high yield potentials, we have a lot to protect so keep checking things out.
For any questions on protecting your beans and your investments, reach out to your local Cooperative Farmers Elevator Agronomist.

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