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Record soybean yields? Not in my back yard

Record soybean yields? Not in my back yard

Late-planted soybeans cost us more than $100 an acre in lost yield

I was ready to concede maybe USDA’s projected yields were real. Then we got into harvesting the later planted soybeans. If I had gotten around to writing this blog at the front end of the week, it would have been much different.

I kept hearing rumors of record yields. I was about to give in and concede maybe the yields are there.

However, my perspective changed on Wednesday.

Ground conditions were fit again and it was time to harvest some soybeans. Boy did we find some foolers! From the road, the beans looked good. That wasn’t the case. It’s never good when you get out of the combine to inspect it, wondering if there is a reason for low yield numbers (like a big hole under the machine dumping harvested crop onto the ground). The yield monitor kept showing low yields.

While I was with the combine scratching my head, dad used a few minutes of wait time to step into the field. There he found many one-bean pods. Then I looked in the combine tank and I could see evidence of aborted seeds.

High cost of late planting

In the end, the late-planted soybeans cost us more than $100 per acre. That’s the take home message.

So far we have harvested three or four later planted fields, with results showing 15-20% lower yield than beans planted before May 15th. We are in the home stretch on beans with only two farms to go. I’m expecting the same trend to continue.

With a couple of nice days in the forecast, I’m hoping to finish up before it rains Sunday. Everyone else must be in the same boat as we thought about taking a load to the Soy-Diesel plant yesterday until we heard of three-hour lines. Instead, we chose to store them in the overhead hopper and will haul them out next week.

Drown-out spots

Another example of how the yields can be foolers this year was given to me by my crop insurance agent who also farms. He told me of an instance when they finished the field and the combine yield read 60 bushel per acre. However, when they divided the grain by the field acres, the total was 51 bushel per acre. This has nothing to do with how difficult it has been to calibrate yield monitors this year. It was all about the 6.5 acre drown out spot in the middle of the field that the combine didn’t harvest.

As far a corn goes, we’ve been plugging away. Moistures have fallen to the low 20% in most cases. There will be more to report on corn as we continue harvest next week.

TAGS: Combines
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