COLUMBUS – If there’s one thing soybean growers can do to get the most out of their drought-stressed crop, it’s to harvest as soon as the beans reach optimum moisture levels.
Jim Beuerlein, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist, said soybean growers should not sit on their harvest.
Instead, he said they need to begin harvesting when the crop gets down to 17 percent to 19 percent moisture, and they need to do so as quickly as possible.
Every time the crop gets wet and then dries out, Beuerlein said farmers lose test weights and grain quality.
Also, when they let the crop get down to 8 percent or 10 percent moisture, producers do a lot of damage to the grain in the harvesting and handling processes, he said.
Yields. According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, less than 20 percent of the crop has been harvested so far. Thirty-five percent of the crop was harvested by this same time last year.
The projected average yield as of Sept. 1 was 44 bushels per acre, slightly down from last year.
Depending on when crops were planted and how much rain they received, Beuerlein said he expects some fields will have fantastic yields, while others will have poor yields.
He has already heard yields are across the board, ranging from 20-70 bushels per acre.
Beuerlein estimates that about 10 percent to 15 percent of the state’s soybean crop is going to produce poor yields due to lack of adequate rainfall during the growing season, while the rest of the state will be average or above average.
Quality. While the crop will not be as good as last year’s, he said it will be better than normal.
In some places where the crop received too much rain, lodging might be a problem.
“Normally 30 inches is a good height for soybeans, but excessive rainfall in certain areas and warmer-than-normal temperatures have caused some plants to grow like crazy,” said Beuerlein.
He said he has seen a lot of plants that are chest high – 4.5 feet high – which may result in lodging and slower harvesting.
Soybean growers also faced insect populations this year, specifically the soybean aphid, which required them to make late-season spray applications.
These applications likely led to running down soybean rows as the sprayer went through the fields, said Ron Hammond, an Ohio State University research entomologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio.
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