The 2021 soybean planting season in Louisiana continues to be slow. There have been areas of successful early planting, but the majority of the prospective soybean acres have been delayed due to weekly heavy rains throughout the state. Unfortunately, there have been early planted soybean that were replanted due to poor final stand counts.
I walked a field in Franklin parish on May 3 that had already been replanted once. After replanting, the final stand was once again lower than expected due to damage from slugs. The pressure from slugs was still high due to the cool and wet conditions and heavy plant residue in the no till production system. Slugs can kill plants by cutting off the growing point. Slugs can also feed on leaves, but the plants should be able to recover, especially in warmer weather. More information on slugs can be found at the Soybean Research and Information Network.
The percent of soybean area planted in LA has been approximately half of the five-year average since April 11. According to the USDA-NASS report, 24% of the LA soybean had been planted as of May 2 compared to the five-year average of 47%. This planting season is slower than normal; however, it is not without comparison. Since 2011, the soybean planting season was comparatively slow in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2019. During these four years, the percent of soybean planted did not reach 50 percent until the week ending between May 10 – 15. Furthermore, in 2013, only 73% of the crop was planted by the week ending on May 26. Normally, approximately 85-90 percent of the soybean crop would be planted by this date. Since 2013, the LA soybean crop yielded an average of 7.25 bushels per acre less in the four years with slow planting progress (46.5 bushels per acre) compared to the four years with a planting season with more average progress (53.75 bushels per acre). The average soybean yield may be reduced with later planting dates. However, the price per bushel received in 2021 may be able to offset the yield loss.
Figure 1: Slug pressure in a soybean field identified in Franklin Parish.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture