Research focuses on soybean planting date in southwest La.

Bruce Schultz, Harrell, Dustin L.  |  8/7/2013 8:10:03 PM

LSU AgCenter agronomist Dustin Harrell talks about his soybean research in southwest Louisiana at a farm field day. (Photo by Bruce Schultz)

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News Release Distributed 08/07/13

CROWLEY, La. – A burgeoning interest in growing soybeans in southwest Louisiana has led LSU AgCenter agronomist Dustin Harrell to start a project this year to find out the best planting window for soybeans in southwest Louisiana.

Current AgCenter planting recommendations are April 15 until May 10 for Group IV soybeans and March 25 through May 5 for Group V.

“Those are accurate for north Louisiana but may not be for south Louisiana,” Harrell said. That time frame was derived from research conducted at the AgCenter Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria and at the AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station near Winnsboro. Both are approximately located near 31 and 32 degrees north latitude while Crowley sits at 30 degrees north latitude.

North Louisiana soybean farming usually involves planting on raised beds, with the possibility of furrow irrigation. However, south Louisiana rice farmers are reluctant to use raised beds because of the expense of doing the dirt work in a soybean-rice rotation. And irrigation is not as feasible for soybeans grown on flat ground because of the potential for injury.

Even though southwest Louisiana soybean acreage is low, the parishes of Jefferson Davis and Acadia account for nine percent of the state’s 1.1 million soybean acres planted last year.

Harrell said the project started March 22 by planting Group IV and Group V soybeans in research plots in a spring stale seedbed every two weeks when moisture was adequate. He used a grain drill with 15-inch row spacing for planting eight different group IV and V Roundup Ready varieties.

“We are emulating what is common for southwest Louisiana,” Harrell said.

The plots are located at the South Farm of the AgCenter Rice Research Station and replicated at the Dean Lee Research Station.

Harrell said at least three years’ data will be needed before any recommendations can be made, and he would prefer to have five years’ worth.

Along with the planting-date project, Harrell also will be growing soybean research plots for LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Clayton Hollier, who is conducting soybean disease research.

Harrell also is working with LSU AgCenter entomologist Jeff Davis on a project to see if insect pests found in soybeans are affected by potassium fertilizer.

Bruce Schultz
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