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5 Soybean Harvest Tips to Avoid Loss

October 8, 2013
soybean harvest

(Shared by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Soybean harvest is underway in many dryland soybean fields and some early season irrigated fields. Soon it will be in full swing.

Harvesting soybeans in a timely manner and at the optimum moisture is important to getting the best yields. Even though stems may be green, soybeans may be dry and ready for harvest.

The following adjustments in your practices can help you get the most from your harvest:


1. When harvesting tough or green stems, make combine adjustments and operate at slower speeds.

2. Begin harvesting at 14% moisture. What appears to be wet from the road may be dry enough to harvest. Try harvesting when some of the leaves are still dry on the plant; the beans may be drier than you think. Soybeans are fully mature when 95% of the pods are at their mature tan color.

3. Harvest under optimum conditions. Moisture content can increase by several points with an overnight dew or it can decrease by several points during a day with low humidity and windy conditions. Avoid harvesting when beans are driest, such as on hot afternoons, to maintain moisture and reduce shattering losses.

4. Avoid harvest losses from shattering. Four to five beans on the ground per square foot can add up to one bushel per acre loss. If you are putting beans in a bin equipped for drying grain, start harvesting at 16% moisture and aerate down to 13%.

5. Harvest at a slow pace and make combine adjustments to match conditions several times a day as conditions change.

While it's too late for this season, next year select your varieties and schedule your planting to spread out plant maturity and harvest.



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