Hayman soybeans – Giru winter 2020

Posted in PulseCheck–Coastal on Dec 17, 2020

2020 Hayman soybean on sandy loam – Giru

Grower: Armin Wessel.

Armin does his own bug checking but stays in contact with local agronomists to discuss problems and to be aware of problems that they see in the wider district.

Location: Giru

Area: 7.8 ha. The block of sugarcane was cut green and failed to ratoon so after a month Armin decided to burn the trash so he could plant soybeans quickly.

Soil type: Clay loam to cracking clay, some areas tend toward sodic (ESP around 6 prior to gypsum application).

Pre-planting preparation

  • Armin had previously EC mapped the partially sodic and salty paddock and had a prescription map for applying gypsum.
  • Gypsum was banded according to the prescription and he also applied 250 kg of KCl (=MOP) and 80 kg of Urea banded before zonal ripping to 400 mm and bed forming with his rotary hoe bedformer.


  • Planting completed on 6 August.
  • Hayman soybean seed planting rate 330,000 seeds/ha.
  • In-furrow fipronil applied.
  • Seed inoculated with rhizobium in peat, using a cement mixer.
  • Planted with a Covington planter.

After planting:

  • 2.5 L/ha Rifle (=Stomp) application. In a vine infested area Armin added 140g of Vezir ( =Spinnaker).
  • Installed fluming.

Update 1: 14 August

  • Crop has germinated well.

Update 2: 21 August

  • The Hayman block is growing well but Armin noticed a lot of vines came up even though preemergent Spinaker/Vezir was applied.
  • Armin expected the herbicides to be incorporated by 20 mm of rain and when that did not happen, he used flood irrigation. That worked well for the Stomp but either did not take the Spinaker down far enough or all the vines have come up but are severely stunted and won't grow any further as the label suggests.
  • The vines still look healthy, so only time will tell if Armin will have to use Blazer later on or do some more chipping to get rid of them!

Update 3: 30 August

  • The Hayman block is moving along well and so far no insect damage.
  • Armin checked nodulation and so far it is not as good or as even as in the Kuranda block but generally looks good enough.
  • The vine issue went both ways: Some vine seedlings in the furrows show clear Spinnaker damage while some in the furrow and all on the bed grew a lot bigger than Armin expected while he had a few days away from the farm. He has seen first hand that Spinnaker needs overhead irrigation or rain in order to work as a preemergent against vines.
  • Blazer was applied to treat the surviving vines.
  • Armin would like to water this block early next week but will have to stress it a bit because he needs to avoid wetting the tail drain when there is cane due to be hauled through it in about 10 days from now.

Update 4: 15 Sept

  • The crop is starting to stress quite a bit especially in some saltier spots. The cane block Armin was waiting for was cut today, so he will start irrigating the Hayman block from tomorrow onwards.
  • Armin has installed GDots in both the Hayman and Kuranda blocks to keep better track of soil moisture. Since he works with zonal tillage he has put permanent conduit in at 65 cm depth for the cabeling and let that come up in a furrow. He then put the gypsum block 25 cm below the first soybean row on the next bed. His plan is to take the gypsum block out of the bed when he works it and then reinstall it when the next crop is in.

Installation of GDot soil moisture monitoring system.

Update 5: 20 Sept

  • In a few areas with soakage or salinity issues the beans did not like the delay in irrigation.
  • In the rest of the block the beans are growing well and responding to the irrigation.
  • Armin plans to apply foliar zinc late next week.

Salt levels in the soil (left) exacerbate the effect of delayed irrigation.

Update 6 – 28 Sept

  • Armin applied 15 kg of zinc sulfate and 8 kg of potassium nitrate in 240 L of water per ha this week. The tank put on in last daylight just after 5 pm caused some burn but the next tank applied in darkness and followed by dew was ok.
  • The crop had some prior leaf damage and is about to start flowering so he checked for insects with the beat sheet. Nine beats had nothing and one had a cluster of six small helis but they looked partially dried out and were lethargic.
  • The next irrigation will have to wait some 10 days from now because of cane harvesting, so there is no rush to spray for insects either.
  • Vines are an ongoing problem in this block though. The last irrigation brought up a fresh flush of vines. Having already used Spinnaker and Blazer, Armin decided to spot spray the bad vine spots using a backpack sprayer and a glyphosate 2,4-D mix, aiming low at the inter row area. With this mix he can also get rid of some remaining small nut grass spots in the paddock.

A fresh germination of weeds was sprayed using a backpack sprayer with glyphosate and 2,4-D.

Update 7 – 5 October

  • The crop is still showing the leaf burn from foliar fertiliser applied last week (see photo above).
  • New leaves are appearing and flowering is in full swing, although they are running out of water.
  • Armin handsprayed a few hours per morning and hopes he got most of the patches of nutgrass and vines. He used a 2,4-D / glyphosate mix in the backpack sprayer, holding the spray nozzle close to the ground to avoid drift onto the beans. Hopefully the crop will soon shade out the weeds.
  • Insect pressure is very low.

Hand-sprayed nutgrass and hoping the crop canopy will close soon and shade out any new flushes of weeds.

Update 8 – 11 October

  • The Hayman beans finally got their irrigation. Armin hopes it does not trigger another flush of vines.
  • Pods are starting to grow bigger.
  • Insect pressure is still very low.

The crop is podding well.

Update 9 – 19 October

  • The crop has responded well to the last irrigation. Unfortunately a few vines are still germinating.
  • Checked the crop with the beat sheet and found around one heli and one other grub per beat. All sizes were present. No GVBs or redbanded shield bugs were present in 10 beats. There is some leaf and pod damage visible on the new growth after the leaf damage from the earlier foliar fertiliser application. Armin plans to apply a Vivus/Bt spray this week to protect the fresh leafs and the existing pods.
  • Irrigation will be needed again soon.

Update 10 – 26 October

  • This week Armin invited agronomist Simon Dunlop from Farmacist to check the Hayman crop prior to spraying the Vivus/DiPel mix because he is interested in how the biological controls work in soys. He checked again at the end of the week and reported back to Armin: "I did 10 beat sheets, I got 4 dead helis, 7 sick/slow helis and 2 healthy looking cluster caterpillar. It appears to be working well but I would like to check again Monday. I didn't see a GVB at all, even wandering through, so that's positive."
  • The crop was starting to run out of water, but again Armin had to hold back watering because of another cane harvesting round. The storm this week was helpful this time but overall water stress has cost Armin some yield as the crop stopped growing a few times during flowering and pod setting.
  • The beans still have not covered in completely and are rather small where salinity added to the general water stress. But on the positive side they are still standing up even after the storm!

Update 11 – 2 November

  • The Hayman crop was a bit muddy for bug checking at the start of the week after a 19 mm storm the night before, so Simon just had a quick look on Monday and came back with the beatsheet on Friday. The beatsheet run confirmed what he noticed last week and what Armin saw when again spot spraying a few vine hot spots with the backpack sprayer: Helis are still dying from the Virus spray, sunbathing GVBs and RSBs can be seen on some plants but don't show up in bigger numbers on the beatsheet yet, while the few initial cluster caterpillars that survived the biological sprays seem to increase and chew foliage.
  • The crop is now again water stressed even though the 19 mm storm rain earlier because Armin had to hold back irrigation for another week. Invicta sugar mill is getting extra cane bins from other Burdekin mills and Armin's next harvesting round did not happen last Wednesday as expected but is delayed by about a week.
  • Therefore the block was hard and dry this weekend and he sprayed 70 g/ha of Altacor with salt and wetter with a ground rig @ 240 L/ha water rate.

The Gdot is showing no more yellow dots so the soil is pretty empty and the beans need a watering even with the 19mm storm a week ago.

Given the soil water deficit, any spots with soil issues are already going backwards.

Overall the crop is still handling the water stress though.

Update 12 – 9 November

  • The Hayman crop is still insect free and has responded well to the irrigation.

Update 13 - 14 November

  • The crop is filling pods and using water.
  • Armin checked the crop for insects using a beatsheet and counted around 1.5 GVB/RSB per beat on average. Only one sick heli was found in all beats so the Altacor is still providing effective control.
  • Armin plans to do a ground application of Shield to control the bugs as soon as some wet spots dry out.

Update 14 – 23 November

  • The crop is still green and filling pods.
  • An irrigation mishap has meant that one irrigation set in the block got partially watered, which forced Armin to use a plane for the Shield application instead of spraying with a ground rig at a higher water rate.
  • The treatment gave a good kill of GVB/RSB kill and Armin is hoping that the slight residual effect of Shield will protect the crop till harvest.
  • The next irrigation will be done this week.

Update 14 – 30 November

  • This Hayman crop is about 3 weeks behind the Kuranda crop.
  • The crop had its last planned irrigation a week ago, which should be enough to get the crop through to full maturity.
  • Found only 1 GVB in 10 beats, so hopefully no more sprays will be needed either.

Update 15 – 8 December

  • The block is drying out slowly. Some pods are still green in the salt free areas and where there is enough soil moisture to let them mature further.
  • There is some rain in the forecast for later this week. So Armin will wait for that to play out and then decide on dessication in cooperation with another grower down the road so the harvest contractor can harvest crops on both farms.

Update 16 – 16 December

  • The crop was sprayed out with Reglone late last Friday.
  • The crop was harvested Wednesday with a Flex front and no lodging meant minimal losses.
  • Estimate of yield is around 3.25 t/ha
  • Added bonus: The harvester stayed in the furrows so Armin plans to do one run with his rotary/bed-former combination to restore the beds ready for a second soy crop over summer.

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