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An early look at soybean yields as harvest beginsAn early look at soybean yields as harvest begins

Between the Fencerows: Our brand new grain cart driver did pretty well his first time through harvest.

Kyle Stackhouse

October 7, 2023

3 Min Read
Bean combine head in soybean field
Kyle Stackhouse

Last Saturday we were finally able to begin soybean harvest despite a very dewy, foggy morning. Firing up the combine at 3:00 in the afternoon, we broke the old rule that says, ‘don’t start anything on Saturday that you can’t finish.’

We knew start up day would be slow, so we didn’t ask anyone to come in and work Saturday. It was just me, dad and Emry (my son, 13). We just wanted to make sure everything was working well and see what kind of yields we would have.

Dialed in equipment

I drove the combine and got everything set up and tuned in. Dad hauled the beans around the corner and bumped them at my house. Emry, with no grain cart experience, did a modified version and brought the cart to wherever I was going to have the combine full. Then I would stop and dump the combine.

It would have been a learning day except tolerances are much tighter between the grain cart and combine when the 40’ draper is on the combine and we had nobody available to ride with him and show him the ropes. We cut at an angle so there are no rows to follow. Hopefully next time he drives cart we will be in corn (where it is easier) and he can get his feet wet ‘dumping on the go.’

We could have probably set a GPS line in the tractor, but I would like him to have a feel of where the tractor should be before letting him trust the line.

On Monday morning we brought the second combine in and cut beans, and again on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was a battle finding beans that harvested easily as dead leaves are hanging on and there were some green stems in some areas. However, moisture had gone from a perfect 13% on Saturday to dirty, dusty 9-11% by Monday evening, so we kept on plugging away.

I’m going to gloss over breakdown Monday afternoon and a 200-mile 4.5-hour trip Tuesday morning to three different dealers to get parts to make the repair. It’s frustrating; there is a crazy lack of parts inventory! We cut beans until it rained Thursday morning.

How are yields?

So, to answer what everyone wants to know: ‘how are the yields?’ We are about a third of the way through our crop. I would say early planted, early maturity beans are going to yield the best, Actual Production History plus 0-10%. Dry conditions in August and September took a toll on fuller season varieties causing some premature death. Later beans will be okay if they’re on better soil, but droughty areas are yielding half to two-thirds. This will bring down averages quickly.

We haven’t done enough to later-planted beans to know yet, but I think APH is the best we can hope for on these later acres where yields may very well average out 5-20% below APH. This is why we attempt to mitigate risk by spreading planting out and using different maturities and varieties.

In the end, we will probably be very close to APH.

About the Author(s)

Kyle Stackhouse


After graduating from Purdue University in 1999 with a degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Kyle Stackhouse began farming in Plymouth, Ind., in northern Indiana. Kyle farms alongside his father Brad, not as an employee but as an owner who runs separate businesses in three counties in a 20-mile radius.  Kyle shares insight into day to day operations, current issues, and management of the family's mid-sized grain farm that specializes in NON-GMO and Identity Preserved crops.

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