Soybeans slowed down in June where it remained hot and dry, Shaun Casteel, Purdue University Extension agronomist observes. He's also a columnist for Indiana Prairie Farmer, writing in the series Soybean Success.
Whether or not soybeans will be successful this year depends on what happens from now on, and especially in August, he says. That is the critical time when soybeans need rain, even this year. He's counting on the ability of soybeans to compensate and wait for rain to help the crop turned out reasonably well in Indiana in the end. The window for soybeans to hang on and wait and then recover is wider than the window for corn.
Casteel points to 1991, when corn was 27% below trend yield in Indiana, but soybeans were only about 1.7% below trend yield per acre. He attributes that to the ability of the crop to wait for rain, which finally came to much of the state in August.
In the most severe drought areas so far within the state, a few fields have gone from cupped leaves to leaves folding in on themselves. Those fields will likely suffer some loss, no matter what happens form here on out, he says. But that applies to only a few fields so far.
Most sat there through much of June, not appearing to grow very quickly on the surface, he observes. However, he's confident that root growth was occurring below the surface. The plants were putting their products produced from photosynthesis into root growth.
Stand is important, he says. If there are 100,000 plants and rain comes in August, he feels the yield potential in many fields will still be good.
In the meantime, don't be surprised if a few fields under more stress than others start to bloom and attempt to put on some pods, Casteel notes. It's part of the goal of a plant- to sacrifice and produce as many progeny as possible.