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Soybean farmers fighting wind, rain, weeds

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi soybean farmers have started planting in spite of unpredictable spring weather that has brought strong wind and heavy rains to some areas while leaving other regions dry.

About 10 percent to 20 percent of the soybean crop is planted.

“We are a little behind where we would like to be normally because the weather has hampered planting,” said Tom Eubank, assistant research and Extension professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center, where he serves as the soybean weed specialist. “The wind has really played havoc this year with a lot of producers who have been trying to get burndown applications of herbicides applied. There has been a near-constant wind in many areas for the past couple of months.

“The key issue Mississippi soybean growers are facing right now is glyphosate-resistant weeds, and the most concerning of these is pigweed. Glyphosate-resistant pigweed has been documented in 11 Mississippi counties and that number is increasing rapidly. We are encouraging the use of residual herbicides to aid in controlling pigweed, regardless of whether they have resistance or not.”

Pigweed is so pervasive that in many cases, it’s already emerging when the planter is going through the field.

In addition to battling resistant weeds in the field, soybean farmers have to contend with a recent decline in exports and the allure of higher cotton and corn prices. Exports have been one of the bright spots for most agricultural commodities, but soybean exports the past few weeks have not maintained the fast pace of competing commodities.

On the whole, Mississippi’s decrease in soybean acres is more substantial than the national average decrease.

“Soybean acres planted in the United States this year are down about 1 percent, 76.6 million compared to 77.4 million in 2010,” said John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the MSU Extension Service. “But Mississippi is predicted to show a decrease in soybean acres of 7.5 percent with current projections at 1.85 million acres for 2011 versus 2 million in 2010.”

Source: Mississippi State University Extension Service


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