In this season’s soya bean crops, water management will be crucial in maintaining yields. The drought has affected all our land and I’m forecasting a drop in yields. The rains in recent days have been variable across our farms, with differences of up to 20mm on sites just 7km apart.
Nationally, several firms have revised down their predictions, with Argentinean soya bean production now estimated in the region of 40m tonnes – far below the 52m tonnes forecast at the beginning of the current campaign. No one could have foreseen the losses could reach these levels.
Beyond estimating the possible fall in yields, which is still not predictable as my crops are still in the vegetative stage, I have been focusing on practical ways to defend the potential yield of my soya beans.
I try to keep the fields weed-free and prioritise the available soil water for the soya bean plants. So I have gone in a week early with a herbicide and have also added oils and moisturisers to improve the efficacy of the application, avoiding the daylight hours when temperatures are high and low relative humidity.
I have increased crop monitoring for insect damage, but so far they are clean. I have stocked some Opera (pyraclostrobin + epoxiconazole) in case of a possible late attack cycle by cercospora sojina. Once soya beans reach reproductive status and have accumulated greater than 50mm of water, I will aim for another application to extend the protection to around 20-25 days.
In short, I think a campaign like the current one will highlight the differences between those fields cropped using a “no till system” and managed well for weeds versus those that had a poor or late weed control and, hence, lower water reserves in the soil profile for the soya plants.
Farmer Focus Arable: Federico Rolle