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Corn+Soybean Digest

Frost Damages Kentucky Soybean Crop

While the rains have stopped and harvest is progressing, Kentucky growers continue to deal with the ramifications of a cool, wet growing season.

The growing season came to a close the weekend of Oct. 17 with the season's first frost. While that may seem early, it was only slightly ahead of the state's average first frost date, says Michael Mathews, staff meteorologist in the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture.

Fortunately, the majority of the state's corn was mature; however, only 75% of soybeans were mature, says Chad Lee, UK grain crops specialist.

"Most likely the remaining 25% will not grow any further, resulting in lighter seeds," he says. These soybeans were mainly double-cropped with wheat or planted late.

Not only will the late soybeans have lower test weights, but they may have additional damage, which could reduce marketability and lead to additional price discounts at the elevator. When the frost hit, some of the soybeans had yet to turn yellow and drop their leaves. This could make the plant's green color nearly impossible to get out of the seeds. High moisture levels may lead to shriveled seeds which could trigger an additional discount, says Jim Herbek, UK grain crops specialist.

Corn and soybean harvesting delays are slowing wheat planting.

"There could be a lot of late-planted wheat, especially if there's another crop still in the field," Herbek says.

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