Soybean producers gather at Rutgers
BORDENTOWN — The eighth annual Soybean Producers Meeting was held at the Rutgers EcoComplex on March 6 with a bevy of engaging speakers.
New Jersey Soybean Board Chairman Brian Palmer, formerly of New Jersey but whose job with Perdue Agribusiness has taken him to Salisbury, Md., addressed a group of perhaps 40 soybean growers at the EcoComplex.
Palmer spoke briefly about the array of projects the soybean board is involved with, including FFA projects, a bean beetle awareness exhibit in the EcoComplex’s lobby and other projects, including supporting the National Biodiesel Board.
“If you have any projects you think we should fund or ideas for next year’s annual meeting, your ideas for good speakers are also welcomed,” Palmer stressed at the outset. He then introduced New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture, Doug Fisher.
“It’s amazing work you all do with 100,000 acres in the state of New Jersey and you deliver such amazing results with the crop in our state. A very valuable part of agriculture is the sector that you’re in,” Fisher stressed, “and you don’t really rely on us in any great way, you’re one of the most independent groups in terms of what your needs are from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, but we do stand ready to make sure whatever services we have, we’re available for you,” he added.
Fisher cited the NJDA’s commitment to funding the ongoing struggle soybean growers have with the Mexican bean beetle.
It is “a remarkable [integrated pest management] program that is known nationally and internationally.
The fact that you can take a couple of cups of these insects and put them out in the fields and they do the work for you,” is remarkable, he added.
“We applied for a grant from Washington, and got it so we’re going to spend about $70,000 a day to attack the spotted lantern fly. We hope it won’t get the foothold here that it has in Pennsylvania, but I just want you to know we’re giving it an all-out assault as much as any state could and we now know it’s also in Delaware,” Fisher said.
He related some interesting statistics on soybean production in the Garden State, using 2018 figures: Salem County is the No. 1 county for soybeans with 1.2 million bushels; Burlington County ranked second with 858,000 bushels while Warren County was third with 527,000 bushels.
“North and south and central, depending on where you live, everybody’s got some action going with soybeans in New Jersey,” he stressed.
Dr. Mark Van Gessel, Extension weed management expert from the University of Delaware, discussed how soybean farmers can best manage weed threats.
“We’ve run out of options with the herbicides that we have available,” Van Gessel said, “and while industry would love to come up with a new mode of action, industry just hasn’t been able to find that.
That type of work is extremely expensive to do, it’s not something that any of the universities are involved with.
It’s all the basic manufacturers like FMC, Corteva, Syngenta that are involved in that process.
For the last few years we’ve been saying there’s no new mechanism of action coming into the marketplace, but in January of this year, FMC announced they have a new mode of action being released in soybeans from their chief technology officer and it’s going to be very effective against palmer amaranth.”
However, the technology behind the chemistry is so new it’s not expected to launch until 2026.
“Not only is it expensive to develop new modes of action, it’s also very time consuming. 2026 is seven years out, and that’s probably a pretty rosy picture, because there’s an awful lot of toxicology work and environmental faith work that needs to be done,” he said.
“The point is, we’ve got to learn to live with the products that we have. We’ve got to preserve the longevity of what we [apply or spray] and make sure we don’t over-use it, and abuse any one type of chemistry.”
“We need to start thinking beyond just herbicides to control weeds,” he continued, asking, “Does it make sense to start including a small grain in the rotation? What are we getting by just rotating between corn and soybeans? What are the advantages and disadvantages of that, particularly if we’re trying to battle some of these resistant weeds in specific fields?”
Van Gessel also mentioned row spacings, cover crops, other approaches soybean growers can take so they’re viewing the big picture, “a total integrated approach to overall weed management,” is what’s needed in this era of herbicidal resistance, he argued.
“It’s a lot of things you’re probably doing already, and it’s just necessary to continue these practices.”
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