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Handling soybean harvest delays due to flooding

Here, you’ll find information about how late-season wet conditions and flooding affect soybeans, as growers wait for field conditions to improve and harvest to resume.

Impact on soybeans

When standing water submerges soybean pods for a significant time period, seed quality is a concern. Wet conditions combined with warm temperatures increase the risk of damage from fungal pathogens.

If areas were submerged for several days, stems may weaken or rot, increasing the chance of lodging and harvest losses. Prior hail damage or previous stem diseases may predispose plants to further injury.

Pod shatter before to harvest is also of concern, especially if soybeans go through several cycles of drying and re-wetting.

Management strategies

Submerged soybeans

If soybeans were submerged in areas of the field, consider segregating these potentially lower-quality soybeans. Segregation may be particularly beneficial if you intended to sell soybeans to a specialty market where premiums are based on soybean quality.

Harvest delays

Delayed harvest will also influence your ability to conduct fall tillage operations and fertilizer applications. The main focus is, of course, to get crops out of the field.

As field conditions improve and harvest resumes, keep an eye on crop status when deciding which fields to harvest next. This will help maximize crop quality and yield.

Lizabeth Stahl, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

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