2012 Soybean Harvest

Soybean harvest started on our farm a couple days ago.  Like every year, this one has been full of challenges.  The drought of 2012 will not be soon forgotten.

There’s a lot of variance across our bean fields.  A soybean plant is green then as the days get shorter the leaves turn yellow and the plant starts to drop its leaves until all that is left is the pods.

Soybean plant with all leaves dropped

Most years we would wait until all the leaves are gone before harvesting, but this year we’re starting harvest with some of the leaves still on the plants.  This doesn’t hurt anything, but it is a little more challenging to harvest.  The reason we are harvesting now is the pods are dry.  Once the pods dry down, the beans have a tendency to “pop” out of the pods.  If the beans fall to the ground there is no way to retrieve the bean … so it’s then just lost.

Soybean plant that’s “dropping” its leaves. Notice the pods are dry.

Our farm was fortunate to receive some rains in late August and early September which did help our yields.  Although our corn crop was about 30% of average, the late rains helped the soybeans.  Based on the initial yields it looks like we may have 80-90% of a crop.  The early beans we’ve harvested look like they will be good quality.

Soybean pod

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