Warm winter weather led to stink bugs showing up earlier than usual this year — bad news for soybean farmers because redbanded stink bugs can destroy entire fields if left unchecked.
The threat comes as high prices and drier weather prompted Louisiana and Mississippi farmers to boost soybean acreage from last year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Louisiana farmers are planting more soybeans than they have in 14 years but may tie a record low for cotton.
Changing weather patterns appeared to be a factor as the wet early spring gave way to a drier pattern. So farmers are planting more soybeans and less rice than originally expected.
The USDA's July crop report says Louisiana farmers are planting 1.14 million acres of soybeans, the highest since 1.2 million acres in 1998 and 70,000 acres more than projected in March.