Target spot lowered soybean yields in Arkansas this year

by David Bennett, Delta Farm Press

While more producers push past 100-bushel-per-acre soybean yields, a problem disease appears to have kept a lid on the potential of many northeast Arkansas fields. Target spot, once thought a negligible problem, is now making its mark.

Dr. Lanny Ashlock, retired University of Arkansas soybean specialist and current chairman of the Natural Soybean and Grain Alliance, “couldn’t be happier that more and more growers are participating in (the state’s yield contest), and going over, 100 bushels.”

The original idea for the contest “came from some producer-leaders from within the state. Board members of the Arkansas Soybean Association developed a project and submitted it to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. The original ‘Race for a Hundred’ project over 10 years ago and has continued to support this type of project with some modifications up to the present time.”

The state went about five years without any winners. Since then, though, “the growers have figured it out and some of these yields are spectacular.”

Lower yields

Unfortunately in some areas of Arkansas, many growers “are cutting a lot less than they originally thought they would. Some fields were expected to cut 60 or 70 bushels and are only cutting 30 or 40 bushels.

“Often, especially with indeterminate varieties, the crop will yield better than it looks. That just isn’t the case this year with many of our growers in northeast Arkansas. I haven’t heard many complaints south of the Arkansas River so hopefully their yields are closer to what they expected.”

During the summer, Ashlock “was fortunate to spend some time in Cross County and Poinsett County – mostly west of Crowley’s Ridge. Lots of those soybeans looked good during the growing season but tailed off at the end.”

Rick Thompson, Armor Seed consultant and retired County Extension agent, saw some of the problems with target spot last year. This year, he says the problem has mushroomed.

“I began thinking about it, reading literature and talked to university people. Most of those sources felt target spot had not proven to be a yield-limiting disease in the past. Although target spot has been around a while it wasn’t thought to be very serious until lately. In 2016, it’s at least a partial explanation for the disappointing yields in some northeast Arkansas fields.”

Read the rest of the story in Delta Farm Press.

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