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Saturated soils beginning to dig into soybean yield

Saturated soils beginning to dig into soybean yield

Spots where water stood too long won't recover, agronomists say.

Heavy rains in part of Indiana over the past three weeks have raised questions about how much soybean yield may have been lost.

Justin Petrosino, an Agronomist with Stewart Seeds, Greensburg, says it's a matter of how long the soybeans were underwater. He also says it's more of an art than a science in predicting soybean recovery and possible yield loss.

Related: Midwest crops range from excellent to destroyed

Yield loss or not? If water didn't stay long the odds of yield loss are minimal, agronomists say. However, wet soil conditions increase the risk for diseases.

The agronomist issued a statement recently in his Crop Flash report that according to university work in past, yield losses can range from 0 to 50%. "If ducks took up residence in your soybeans, obviously that meant major losses," he says. Yield in those fields could be even zero in the places that were flooded.

If water covered beans but receded within 24 hours and soils dried out, you're likely in the 0% to 20% range of lost yield potential, he notes. The real gray area is if water covered soybeans for 24 to 72 hours. That's where it is less clear, at least based on history and reports from universities, on exactly how much yield might be lost.

Watching fields for diseases that might develop linked to saturated conditions will be important, he says. Phytophthora root rot is one that likes wet soils, and is often worse in areas that tend to pond, especially in fields with heavier soils.

Related: Why you should keep an eye out for rootworm damage

If wet conditions continue as soybeans begin to flower, Petrosino advises watching for white mold. While it doesn't show up until later in the season, infection can happen much earlier in the season, during flowering. Soybeans with lots of foliage, wet conditions, and little air movement are most susceptible.

There is some thought that the disease, if it appears, will be more prevalent in soybean in narrower rows than 30 inches, although 30 inch rows doesn't make soybeans immune to having white mold problems.


For farmers to maximize soybean yields, they need to maximize their management. Often soybean management takes a backseat to corn, but it doesn't have to. Download our free report, Boost Your Soybean Yield, for a one-stop look at ways you can better manage your crop.

TAGS: Soybean
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