Crop & Pest Report


| Share

Rolling Soybeans and Dry Beans (06/06/19)

Rolling Soybeans and Dry Beans


The objective of rolling soybean ground is to push rocks and large soil clods down to the soil surface and level the soil to allow a low combine cutter bar height during harvest. This will reduce harvest loss by cutting soybean stems below pods instead of cutting above or through low pods and leaving seeds in the field. Soybean fields are rolled after planting. Advantages with rolling before the crop has emerged are low potential for plant injury and improved seed-to-soil contact. Disadvantages are increased potential for soil-surface crusting in wet soils and soil erosion.

Rolling fields after the crop has emerged will potentially cause plant injury including crushed leaves and cracked or broken stems. Plants will die if the stem is broken below the cotyledon leaves due to loss of all growing points. Injured plants may be more susceptible to lodging and disease. Rolling during the warmest part of the day on less turgid plants should reduce injury.

A two-year NDSU soybean ground rolling study at Carrington was conducted to examine plant response with rolling from immediately after planting through the first trifoliate stage (V1). Study results indicated an increase in plant injury as rolling was delayed after plant emergence. However, plant density and seed yield was similar among the unrolled check and all rolling treatments. If rolling is delayed until after the crop has emerged, perform the operation as soon as possible and ideally by the unifoliate stage (VC).


Dry bean

Land rolling in North Dakota can also be used for dry bean. Research on dry bean (an upright pinto) in Manitoba found that there were no significant differences in plant density and yield between no rolling (the check treatment) and rolling immediately after seeding or rolling after the hypocotyl arch stage, 10-13 days after planting (source: The Pulse Beat magazine). Rolling when the crop is just emerging (arch stage) can cause severe damage by breaking of the plant and is not recommended.


a) Carrington, Endres and Henson. 2004, Impact of Field Rolling on Soybean Performance.

b) University of Minnesota, DeJong-Hughes et al., 2016. Rolling soybean: The Good, The bad, and the injured.


Hans Kandel

Extension Agronomist Broadleaf Crops

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USDA logo

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.