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Web Resources for Soybean Production Information


Much new technology has been added to the resources available to soybean producers in the lower Mississippi River Valley.  An increasing amount of this new information is available on internet websites.  However, finding and/or accessing this information can be a formidable task when you must visit websites of several organizations that may or may not have what you need, and then figure out where on each website to find the information you are looking for.

Most websites are uniquely designed; thus, there is no consistent pattern that can be used for searching for the same or similar subjects among websites.  This article provides you with URL’s (addresses for web pages) of sites (mainly those of university academic and extension departments) that contain production information that has been arbitrarily categorized for this article.  However, the included links can be re-categorized and bookmarked for individual use when needed.

For those who may want some instruction on how to use the below information, do this. Click on the colored or highlighted text.  You will be sent to the site.  Once there, simply bookmark that site into your favorites list under the descriptive title of your choice.  Hopefully this will provide you with a valuable shortcut when you need information quickly.

One explanation about these URL’s.  Web addresses for sites may change over time.  The ones shown here are functional at the time of this posting. and will be checked to ensure they continue to be functional.

If you find a link that does not work, send an email to the address shown below with that information.  The shown links were updated in April 2012.

Websites other than those shown here may also offer helpful soybean production information.  Their exclusion from this article does not imply their lack of credibility or usefulness.  However, the below sites, when taken collectively, offer a comprehensive body of information that covers a broad range of production issues for soybeans in the midsouthern states.

Much of the information in the linked resources was developed with the support of state soybean checkoff monies, and thus provides a return on soybean producers’ investment.

Variety trials.  Soybean variety evaluations for Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and  Tennessee can be used for making informed selections.  The Missouri site is provided because information from its Southeast region may provide useful information about early-maturing varieties that may not be included in the other states’ sites.  A previous article posted on this website provides important points about using variety trial information from more than one state.  Each of these sites has useful information that will give a more complete picture of how a variety will perform in environments that are similar to those in Mississippi.

Crop Enterprise Budgets.  Soybean enterprise budgets are an excellent source of up-to-date estimates of costs and returns for various soybean cropping systems.  These budgets are usually generated annually; the most recent ones for Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi are linked.  They are especially useful for evaluating how the addition of extra inputs that may be unnecessary can significantly affect a producer’s bottom line.  The Mississippi State Budget Generator can be used to produce budgets for an individual operation.

Soil fertility recommendations.  Information from Mississippi State University is linked.  An article on fertility recommendations following land leveling may also be useful.  The combination of this information with that in the above-cited budgets can aid in deciding how much and when a needed soil amendment can be applied economically.  Mississippi State University has an online publication that gives details about soil sampling for determining fertilizer and lime requirements.

Planting date recommendations.  The decision of when to plant soybeans is often based on the safest early date to avoid cold injury to emerging seedlings.  Go to the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) site and find the probable last spring frost or freeze date for your location.  An article on the MSPB website has a table of these dates and the probabilities associated with them for Mississippi cities, along with an explanation of how to use the dates and probabilities to evaluate cold-injury risk for a given planting date.

Weed Management.  The midsouthern states publish weed management guides, usually on an annual basis.  Links to the most recent guides for Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee are provided.  All of these linked guides give estimates of weed control resulting from preplant, pre-emergence, and post-emergence applications of individual and combination herbicides used in myriad soybean cropping systems.

Disease Management.  Links to information published by the University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, and the University of Missouri are provided.  Pictorial displays of symptoms exhibited by the major soybean diseases are shown in publications of the Southern Soybean Disease Workers, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Missouri.  A thorough treatment of soybean rust knowledge was published in 2008, and Mississippi State University has published information about fungicide treatments for rust control/management.  An article on this website provides a concise summary of fungicide seed treatments that can be used to manage seed and seedling diseases.

Insect management.  The University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, and Mississippi State University have online publications that contain information about the management and control of  insect pests.  A soybean insect indentification guide contains pictorial presentations of the major soybean insect pests.  An article on the MSPB website discusses the use of thresholds for managing soybean insects.

While consultants are often employed to monitor and manage insect activity in soybeans, the above linked sites can be used to gain a basic knowledge of particular insects that may be potentially damaging to your crop, and to learn some basic scouting and control protocols.

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) management.  The University of Missouri and the NCSRP (North Central Soybean Research Program; funded by checkoff monies) have published guidelines for managing SCN in soybeans.  The latter publication is currently the most complete guide for managing this most damaging pest to US soybeans.  An article on the MSPB website gives the latest information and guidelines for managing all nematode pests in Midsouth soybeans.

Irrigation Management.  An Irrigation White Paper on the MSPB website provides details needed to properly irrigate soybeans.  Links to other sites that have additional and/or supporting information to help manage irrigation to maximize efficiency and returns are included in that article.  A recent article on the MSPB website describes how more efficient soybean irrigation will conserve water that is being pumped from the Mississippi River alluvial aquifer.  MAFES Bull. 919 entitled “Principles of Water Management for Soybeans” and a White Paper entitled “Soil-Plant Water Relations” offer helpful insights into how soils and plants interact to affect soil water and its availability.

Cover crops and plant residue management.  Management of these two important components of conservation production systems will increase in importance when/if the acreage devoted to conservation farming practices increases.  Two NRCS publications, Corn and soybean crop residue management guide and A guide to managing crop residues in corn and soybeans, and a Purdue University publication provide information about how to measure crop residues and estimates of how various tillage operations affect residue cover.  A publication entitled  Managing cover crops profitably gives a complete treatment of cover crops.  Information in these publications may become more important as conservation soybean production systems are increasingly adopted by producers.  A publication entitled “How to monitor residue” provides pictures and guidelines that can be helpful for visually estimating crop residue.

Weather data.  Mississippi soybean producers are fortunate to have detailed weather information for many locations throughout the state.  These data can be used to plan many of the operations that are dependent on the weather that is likely to occur on a given date or for a particular period of time.  Both recent and historical data for each location can be accessed.  Also, averages for chosen weather variables over selected periods of time can be calculated on the website.

A wealth of free weather data for all states is available on the NOAA website.  Just click Free Data and then choose products listed in any of the Free Data Sections.  The Individual Station Original in Section B and the CLIM 20 Station Summaries in Section C likely will be the most helpful.

Latitude.  Maturity date and/or relative maturity of soybean varieties are strongly influenced by latitude.  Therefore, varieties that are being considered should be evaluated using trial data from locations that are near the same latitude as the production location (Hint: one degree of latitude equals about 69.5 miles).

For best results and if possible, use data from variety trials that are conducted within one degree of latitude to the north or south of your farm).  Latitude of your farm can be found on the USGS website.  Just enter the town name in the feature name box, select Mississippi, and click Send Query.

Growth stages.  In-season management inputs are increasingly being applied to soybeans in relation to developmental stage.  Links to definitions and pictures of the accepted and widely used categorization of soybean growth stages can be found in the links to Mississippi State University, Iowa State University, and South Dakota State University publications.

Commodity Seed Quality. This measure of seed quality is used for grading commodity soybean seed, or seed that are produced for sale at the elevator.  It is the criterion used to determine the net price received by producers for their product.  Dockage resulting from poor seed quality costs producers millions of dollars in profits each year.

The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) has established standards for grading commodity soybeans, and these criteria are used by certified graders to assess dockage at producers’ delivery points.  Supplemental information about these standards is available on the MSUcares website.  Varieties and management practices that are projected to result in low dockage should be considered for soybean production.

Revised/updated by Larry G. Heatherly, Apr. 2012;