Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 16 August 2011 15:50
Marion County may have dodged a crop failure bullet once again. That’s because soybeans have an ability to wait out periods of prolonged 100 degrees and drought, to begin growing and setting beans when the rains come.
But the beans aren’t perfect at it. The periodic rains and some cooler temperatures probably will cause some, but not all, soybeans to set more blooms, according to Marion County Extension Agent Rickey Roberts.
Roberts said the weather change might be too late for some beans that were far enough along in the growth cycle during the heat and drought to try setting beans.
A particularly good surprise, Roberts said, may be the beans that were minimum or no-till planted in wheat straw following wheat harvest.
In some parts of the county, it may be too late to save the beans. Roberts said the area south of Goessel, which has been drier than the rest of the county, may have a soybean crop failure.
Much of the rest of Kansas is the same way.
Kraig Roozeboon, Kansas State University Extension crop production specialist, said soybeans stressed by drought and heat in much of the state may be salvaged only in part by cutting them for hay.
He said farmers may not be able to make a decision about cutting beans for hay or saving them for grain until the plants have moved into “seed-fill” stage.
Beginning seed-fill time for beans that probably won’t make it is also the optimum time to cut them to get the most benefit as hay, he said.
A producer can judge whether the plants should be retained for bean production by noting whether they still have 50 to 90 percent of their leaves left, and a good number of pods left still filling with beans, Roozeboon said.
Since the recent rains in Marion County, Roberts said field conditions have improved.
Roberts said, since the recent rains in Marion County,
“Certainly from the road, everything looks better,” he said. “The leaves have uncurled, and look bright. Many still have pods you can see.
“But you still need to walk out further into the field before making decisions, to see what’s in the pods and that they still have a lot of pods.”
“Certainly the rains give us hope and encouragement that we’re going to get something from the beans, especially from the last few days,” Roberts said. “But the rains have been scattered in nature. Not everybody got the same amount. Sometimes a field got rain while only a short distance away, they got none.”
He said some fields were missed by moisture and remain stressed.
“Of high importance is that we’re all getting the cooler weather. The beans need that weather to produce.”
Roberts explained that above 95 degrees, the soybean plant can start to abort beans.
“This bean crop still isn’t in the bin by any stretch of the imagination,” Roberts said. Two weeks ago, with the hot weather, we had only a fair chance of a bean crop. Now, we still don’t know for certain what the next 10 days will bring.”
Roberts added: “No matter what, we still can’t undo the July damage in just a week of rain and cool. We can still have a fair crop—in some places more, in some places less—but we’re not going to get a bumper crop.
“We still have a long way to go to make a bean crop.”