NDSU Extension - Burke County


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Soybean Harvest

Soybean Harvest

County Agent News
Dan Folske
September 18, 2017

Soybean Harvest

It looks like soybean harvest will be off to a good start as soon as this round of cool, showery weather moves on. Field studies have shown that harvest losses as high as 10% are not uncommon but just a few good management activities can reduce that loss to 3 % or less.

          Soybeans should be harvested at 13% moisture on initial dry down. Anything less than that means greater shatter loss when harvesting. Soybeans which have reached 13% or less and then are rewetted by rain or damp conditions may have higher shatter losses after drying back to 13%.  Soybeans need to be 13% moisture or less for good storage. For long term storage they should be 12%. If harvest shattering is high you may want to harvest a slightly higher moisture and put in aeration bins.

          Header losses usually account for about 80% of the total harvesting losses. This includes shattered pods, knocked down stalks, and pods attached below the cutter bar height. Flex headers, finger reels, and pickup guards can be used to keep these losses as low as possible.

          Another major loss point is the cylinder or rotor speed. High cylinder or rotor speed can be responsible for shattered and split beans which become dockage when marketed. Watch those speeds carefully and be prepared to lower those speeds as beans become drier during the day to minimize damage.

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