Production Blog

Scout Soybeans Now

Grape colaspis damage was the verdict in this field south and east of Decatur, Illinois. The stand is damaged enough to require replanting. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

LAPLACE, Illinois (DTN) -- In the part of central Illinois I call home, "Soy what?" is the answer to many questions -- we're clever that way. Corn may stretch for row after row, but the soybean still rides shotgun on many farms. Two major soybean processors -- Archer Daniels Midland and Tate & Lyle (still A.E. Staley to locals) -- keep soybeans in the center of our universe.

I spent a lot of time crop touring this past week. Yeah ... I'm that annoying driver weaving from left to right, going slow and speeding up and occasionally throwing the truck in reverse when I spot something interesting. And yes, there's not always a field entrance around and the ditches can be deep and I try to pull over, but sometimes that weed or that weird patch of whatever calls to me and my camera. Oh, and if you see a Golden Retriever head poking out of an open window, that would be Lucy -- give her a pat and an "atta-girl!" for being a good scout dog.

The windshield, 65-mile-per-hour view would find Illinois beans to be blessed. However, the muddy boots tour tells a different tale.

Farmers planted a few more second-year soybeans this year and grape colaspis seems to love that scenario.

I've read about this damage for years, but saw it for the first time this week in a soy-after-soy field that had a standard seed treatment package.

The seedlings had few lateral roots and injury was spotty in the field. I sent a few photos of the injured areas to some extension soybean specialists and they pretty much all agreed that replanting into the stand would be needed. Replanted soybeans are seldom attacked, since the larvae responsible for the original injury are transforming to beetles. We found adult beetles too, but their feeding seemed minimal.

Read more at:…and…


We were as dry as crackers in this area, prior to last week. So it is an understatement to say the rain we received was welcome. However, it appears it also brought along an unwelcome partner in Phytophthora.

We usually think of Phytophthora as a seedling disease, but it can cause plants to die throughout the season. What I found was the tops of what looked to be healthy plants wilting from the top down. It was in fairly large patches in the field and generally seemed to be in low-lying areas where it was poorly drained or where water came across the land.

For more information on Phytophthora:…


I was hoping dicamba injury would not be a discussion point this year, but determining what soybean fields contain something other than Xtend technology became easier this week.

A lot of spraying was done one to two weeks ago, so the calendar fits.

I had no trouble finding fields showing the classic puckering symptoms of dicamba injury in soybean.

DTN covered this topic last week in a news story and discussed steps growers can take when faced with injury. Read it here:…

I've lost track of how many reports I've heard about herbicide drift and injury symptoms this year -- it is not just dicamba.


The message here is it is time to scout. This year, you may surprised what you see.

Pamela Smith can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN



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