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Storing, drying and handling wet soybeans

Harvesting soybeans at a moisture content between 13 and 15 percent helps maximize weight while minimizing harvest losses.

Spoilage during storage is a concern when moisture levels are high. If storage temperatures are below about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you can usually keep soybeans at 13 percent moisture for about 6 months without mold problems.

As moisture levels increase, however, the length of time soybeans can safely be stored decreases.

Storage time guidelines

As a general guideline, soybeans in storage tend to act about the same as corn with 2 percent more moisture content. For example, you can expect soybeans at 16 percent moisture to act like corn at 18 percent moisture.

We developed the following table for corn, so to adjust for soybeans, simply look at the column with a moisture content 2 percentage points greater than the soybeans in question.

For example, you could store 18 percent moisture soybeans (look at the column for 20 percent moisture corn) at a temperature of 50 for about 63 days before there would be enough mold growth to cause price discounts or feeding problems. Note that aeration is always recommended with all storage facilities.  

Table 1: Allowable storage time (days) for shelled corn

Shows the approximate number of days corn can be held before there’s enough mold growth to cause price discounts or feeding problems. Source: Natural-air corn drying.
Corn temperature 16% moisture content 18% moisture content 20% moisture content 22% moisture content 24% moisture content 26% moisture content
20 F 3,820 days 1,459 days 722 days 427 days 287 days 212 days
30 F 1,700 days 648 days 321 days 190 days 127 days 94 days
40 F 756 days 288 days 142 days 84 days 56 days 41 days
50 F 336 days 128 days 63 days 37 days 25 days 18 days
60 F 149 days 57 days 28 days 16 days 11 days 8 days
70 F 83 days 31 days 16 days 9 days 6 days 5 days

Drying guidelines

You’ll need to artificially dry soybeans if you harvest and store soybeans at a moisture content greater than 13 percent. Useful resources include:

  • Natural-air corn drying: Many of the principles for drying corn will be similar for drying soybeans.

  • Soybean drying and storage: Note this article was written for a northern location. In southern Minnesota, natural-air drying usually works for about two weeks longer, until about Dec. 1.

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