Managing Wet Soybeans in a Late Harvest

ICM News article provides information on storing, drying and marketing wet soybeans

October 18, 2018, 3:09 pm | Charles Hurburgh, Steven Johnson, Meaghan Anderson

pods of soybeans hanging on mature plants.AMES, Iowa – With only about 20 percent of Iowa’s soybean harvest complete as of Oct. 14, this year has already entered the record books as the state’s latest soybean harvest. This was caused by prolonged heavy rains in September and early October, resulting in increased instances of field losses, abnormally high harvest moisture content and moldy soybeans.

Combating these issues is difficult, but there are steps farmers can take to improve their crops this fall. This information is the focus of an article posted to the Integrated Crop Management (ICM) website titled “Managing Wet Soybeans in a Late Harvest.”

The article is written by Charles Hurburgh, professor and extension ag health and safety specialist at Iowa State University, Steve Johnson, farm management specialist, and Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“Harvest conditions this fall are very unusual,” Hurburgh said. “Harvest went from potentially abnormal early to the latest on record in just over a month. In-field quality has decreased, harvest losses have increased and high moisture beans present both a handling and marketing challenge.”

The article details current soybean conditions found in the field and how to store harvested soybean to maximize its storage shelf life. Soybeans that have molded in the field should be dried, preferably with air or very low heat addition, and then marketed as soon as possible.

Farmers anticipating delivering significant amounts of wet or damaged soybeans should work closely with their soybean merchandiser about the specifics of their dried weight calculations and damage discounts.

“Additionally, farmers should contact their crop insurance agent to determine if they are eligible for a quality adjustment as part of their insurance coverage,” Johnson said. “They also need to keep good records during harvest. These are deemed “soft records” such as yield monitor data (with calibration), weigh wagon or scales on grain carts, scale tickets and self-measurement of grain bins.”

These “soft records” can be used on the new Market Facilitation Program (MFP) application administered by local USDA FSA offices. If a crop insurance loss occurs, then “hard records” such grain bin measurements, warehouse receipts or settlement sheets will be required.

Updated information on harvest progress, grain quality and crop marketing will be available through the ICM News website and through ICM Blog.


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