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Why Aren't Soybeans Bouncing Off the Combine Window?

Why Aren't Soybeans Bouncing Off the Combine Window?
One farmer has a theory to explain it.

Soybeans were hitting 8% moisture by mid-September in some areas within Indiana. As more beans matured, moisture contents moved up and down, but apparently many beans have been sold or stored under 13% moisture. When that happens, the farmer takes a loss on weight. And weight means bushels.

Low moisture content this fall is tied directly to extremely dry conditions, including the fourth direst September on record in Indianapolis. It follows a dry August that was also record-setting in some areas.

However, anyone who has run a combine in soybeans hen moisture contest was 8 to 11% knows to expect soybeans flying like B-Bs of the window pane of the combines. It's one of the ways you often lose yield in overly dry beans. Some of those soybeans wind up falling into the header and become part of the soybeans in the grain tank, but some bounce out of the head and are lost.

Jim Cherry, Greenfield, has farmed for several decades. He's harvested dry soybeans before. And he's seen plenty of soybeans bouncing off combine cab windshields when the crop was drier than he liked. He's harvesting dry soybeans again this year. However, so far he hasn't seen much bouncing.

"They just aren't bouncing off the windshield like is common when they're very dry," Cherry says. "I certainly expected to see it, but at least through harvesting our earlier planted beans, it just didn't happen."

Cherry has a theory, but it's only a theory. He believes that since it hasn't rained virtually at all, there hasn't been wetting and rewetting of soybean pods. He believes that when beans receive showers in a normal fall after they're ready to run, and then wait until it dries back up, some pods crack. The wetting and drying action in effect opens cracks in the pods. When the field is finally combined, some pods are weak enough that soybeans sometimes pop out or fly out of the pod. If they fly out as the combine reel hit then, they may be bouncing, flying of the combine cab windows as well.

Your experiences may be different. If you're in an area which has received heavier showers, then ample sunshine to dry down beans to 12 % or more, perhaps you have seen the typical shattering losses at the head.   

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