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University of Minnesota Extension

Flooded soybean

With heavy rains, soybean fields can experience flooded or saturated conditions. Here, we describe agronomic and disease issues for soybean exposed to prolonged periods of high soil moisture and cool temperatures.

Although soybean plants are generally sensitive to excess water, they can survive underwater for a week or more under ideal conditions. Generally, soybeans tolerate 48 hours under water quite well. However, flooding for four to six days can reduce stands, vigor and, eventually, yield.

Key factors that determine impact

Many factors determine how well a soybean crop will tolerate flooding, and the effect on the crop’s quality. Here are the most important factors that determine the fate of flooded soybean fields:

  1. Duration of the flooding.

  2. Temperature during the flood.

  3. Rate of field drying and soil type

  4. Growth stage of the crop during the flood.


Effects of flooding

Some of flooding’s main indirect effects on soybean yields are:

  1. Root diseases.

  2. N deficiency.

  3. Other plant nutrient imbalances.

Seedling diseases


Caring for recovering plants


Jeff Coulter, Extension agronomist; Seth L. Naeve, Extension agronomist; Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist and Fabian Fernandez, Extension nutrient management specialist

Reviewed in 2018

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