Rotating soybeans with sugarcane can add to bottom line

Frances Gould, Morgan, Johnny W.  |  10/28/2014 10:48:04 PM

AgCenter weed scientist Al Orgeron checks on soybeans that are being rotated with sugarcane on Vincent Gravois’ farm in St. James Parish. Orgeron said he and AgCenter agents in St.Mary, Assumption and Iberia parishes have soybean research plots where they are looking for varieties that are suitable for rotation with sugarcane. The soybeans have to reach maturity in time for the grower to plant cane in mid-August. (Photo by Johnny Morgan)

Growing soybeans in rotation with sugarcane is not new to south Louisiana, but doing so at a profit is creating increased interest with some growers, said AgCenter weed scientist Al Orgeron.

The AgCenter has research plots with soybean-sugarcane rotations in Iberia, St. Mary, St. James and Assumption parishes, where the search is on for compatible varieties that could help the growers’ bottom line, Orgeron said.

"There’s no way we can look at what’s happening in Alexandria or some other part of the state and tell St. James growers that it’s all the same," he said. "So we are looking at specific locations so we know what we are telling growers is good for their unique situation."

During the 1970s, some sugarcane growers were rotating soybeans with sugarcane, but they had a major problem with grasses that couldn’t be sprayed with glyphosate without killing the soybeans, Orgeron said.

"The biggest weed problems we have in sugarcane are johnsongrass and bermudagrass," Orgeron said. "But this Roundup Ready technology lets us spray Roundup in soybeans and take out these two weed problems."

Since the technology became available, about 95 percent of the soybeans are now Roundup Ready, Orgeron said.
Johnny Morgan

This article was published in the 2014 Louisiana Soybean & Grain Research & Promotion Board Report.


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