Sculpting Soybean Potential: How weather and post-emerge applications build soybean performance throughout the season.

No doubt, drought conditions are hitting Eastern Iowa and Northwest Illinois pretty hard these past few months. But know we’re not alone. In fact, most of the Midwest is facing D1 level drought conditions according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. Let’s dive into how these conditions, if continued, may impact your crop this season. 

How Are Soybean Acres Being Impacted - What Are We Seeing?

You may have noticed thicker cracks within the soil from lack of moisture recently, but that’s not the only thing we’re seeing as a result of the current drought conditions. 

  1. Herbicides

Given the dry conditions we’ve experienced over the past couple of years, we’re seeing a carryover of herbicides in soybean acres, especially HPPD-inhibitors and atrazine applications. Most of this carryover can be found along the many miles of gravel roads that surround our territory, or in the soils of North-Central Iowa that tend to have naturally high soil pH.

  1. Crop Health

Due to the minimal rainfall early in the season, we haven’t seen as many early post-emerge diseases arise at this time. Instead, soybean plants are efficiently soaking up enough available water to help them continue to develop until the next rainfall occurs. 

Looking to the Future - What’s to Come?

As we’re still early in the season, it’s hard to determine what yield potential will look like this fall. On the bright side, it looks like there is some rainfall in the forecast later in the growing season (30-40% increase in rainfall predicted.) Yield potential isn’t typically determined until around the R3 growth stage, so the lack of rainfall isn’t impacting yields quite yet.

Hope is on the Horizon

We’re heading into the El Niño weather pattern cycle, which results in more moisture from evaporation across the Pacific Ocean. This moisture then gets pushed into the air and carried across the nation. 

With soybeans, we see a longer seed setting phase than other crops. They start developing around the R1 growth stage, and don’t stop producing until the R5.5 growth stage. With the predicted rainfall to come later this growing season, there is still hope for a profitable crop at harvest. 

Fungicides & Insecticides - To Apply Or Not?

At this time, we’re gambling with Mother Nature for much-needed moisture. If the forecast is correct, and we do receive more rainfall as the growing season progresses, fungicides and insecticides will be needed. 

We recommend holding on to your products until the weather is more definite and you can determine if an application is necessary. The last thing we want our farmers to encounter is not having the products they need when the time comes to make an impact on their crop.  

Pests - What to Watch for this Season

Bean leaf beetles are persisting through the growing season at their normal rate, whereas we’re seeing stink bugs at a higher rate in cover crop fields. 

Take a close look at your fields as you’re out scouting. Though the bean leaf beetles are at their typical rate of infestation, the virus they bring to your crops could be even more deadly. 

Bean Pod Mottle Virus is a virus that is transmitted by these bean leaf beetles. This virus has the ability to take three to four bushels off of your yield without you even knowing it. 

A few years back, Iowa State University performed a study testing fields that were clear to the human eye for this virus and found that around 62% of the fields sampled had Bean Pod Mottle Virus. So, it is more common than you may think. 

Crop Diseases - What to Watch for this Season

Frog eye leaf spot and septoria brown spot are no new diseases. Frog eye leaf spot becomes more common as hurricane season approaches.

Did you know? This disease is transmitted through the air and needs to be blown up to the Midwest from the southern states. The intensity of hurricane season that year is what determines the impact of this disease here in the Midwest. 

Septoria brown spot reduces yield potential in almost every field in our territory. The more rain we receive, the more severe this disease will be this season, and the greater the need for control. 

When looking for the ideal fungicide or insecticide to tackle these pests and diseases, our recommendations are to: 

  1. Look for a fungicide with 2-3 modes of action. This will help slow down the development of fungal diseases that are resistant to fungicides for an extended period of time. Consider applying your fungicide applications around the R3 growth stage. 
  2. Invest in a cost-effective pyrethroid insecticide. These insecticides are relatively inexpensive yet target a broad range of yield robbing insects. 
  3. Apply two-in-one. If you are needing to apply both a fungicide and insecticide, we suggest applying these at the same time to receive a more consistent economic payback. 

To talk more of the specifics of what may be best for your operation this season, contact a member of our Liqui-Grow Sales Team.  

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email