Things to Think About Before Soybean Harvest
Manage Harvest Losses
Regularly stop and check to understand your loss – Just 4 to 5 beans on the ground per square foot can add up to one bushel an acre lost. Pre-harvest loss can be determined by checking in standing soybeans. Harvest loss can be determined by checking the rear of the combine. Head shatter can be checked by looking at a harvested swath in front of a combine that has been backed up and parked. Try to check at least 10 square feet per inspection.
Harvest for the conditions – Take time to make combine adjustments and operate slower when harvesting tough or green stems.
Check moisture often – According to UNL, when selling soybeans at a moisture of 8%, you are losing about 5.43% of your yield; at 9% moisture, that loss is 4.4% compared to a 13% moisture harvest. For a field that yields 60 bushels an acre at 13%, harvesting at 9% returns 2.6 bu/ac less to your bottom line.
Even though the season is coming to a close, it is important to continue scouting to understand issues that may affect harvestability or diseases that need to be managed in the future.
Green Stem Syndrome – Green Stem Syndrome occurs when pods and soybean continue to mature correctly on a soybean plant but the stem stays green much later than the maturity calls for. The exact cause of this syndrome is still unknown. It is often linked to pod loss of some kind. Pod loss can come from disease or environmental stresses such as drought or hail. This loss of pods leads to a buildup of sugars in the stem. Sometimes waiting to harvest after a frost can help harvest ease in fields with Green Stem Syndrome. Delaying harvest can also increase loss due to shatter. Scout often for moisture levels.
Soybean Sudden Death and Brown Stem Rot – These diseases have been relatively low pressure this season but have been seen over a wide area. It is important to document if you see either of these diseases because they can be controlled with seed treatment and variety tolerance. Having good documentation helps you and your seed representative correctly place products next time that field is in soybeans.
Other diseases – Document any areas that are struggling. Things like Iron Chlorosis, Fusarium Stem rot, etc. should be discussed when planning for the next soybean crop.