Bad weather put soybean planting behind in Louisiana

Louisiana

Soybean fields in Louisiana have some degree of leaning, which is called lodging. Photo by David Moseley/LSU AgCenter

BATCHELOR, La. (AP) — Bad weather has put Louisiana soybean farmers behind schedule, but rising prices are likely to increase acreage from last year, a Louisiana State University soybean specialist says.

Louisiana farmers have planted about 24% of the acres they plan for soybeans, compared to a 5-year average of 47% by this time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday.

“We are behind,” said David Moseley of the LSU AgCenter. “It basically starts at the winter storms in February and the consistent rains since then. The fields have stayed wet.”

But, he said in a news release Thursday, farmers are talking about expanding their soybean fields because prices are about $15 a bushel from above $8 a year ago, fueled by a weaker U.S. dollar and growing demand in China.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk about planting marginal land,” Moseley said. “Planting some acres that were not in soybeans last year, or even three, four or five years ago.”

Last year, Louisiana grew 1.1 million acres of soybeans.

Moseley said many growers couldn’t plant much until the first week of April, much later than normal.

Many of the planted fields are fallow sugarcane fields which farmers will want to harvest these beans in August so they can plant sugarcane, the AgCenter said.

Fields planted after mid-May in Louisiana tend to have lower yields, but Moseley said quite a few acres may be planted after that.

“Even if you lose a little bit of yield because of late planting, the price is good,” he said. “You should be able to be profitable this year even with a small decrease in yield.”

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