Crop & Pest Report


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Soybean and Saturated Conditions (07/18/19)

Recent heavy rains in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota have caused crop damage.

Recent heavy rains in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota have caused crop damage. Extended periods of flooding or saturated soil conditions have a negative effect on crop growth and yield. During early growth stages, soybean plants can survive for only two to four days when completely under water and anaerobic conditions. Moderate water movement can reduce flood damage by allowing some oxygen to get to the plants, keeping them respiring and alive. Drainage of the water within one to two days increases the chance of plant survival.

Research indicates that the oxygen concentration in the soil approaches zero after 24‑hours in a flooded soil. Without oxygen, the plant cannot perform critical functions. Nutrient and water uptake is impaired and root growth is inhibited. Even if flooding does not kill the plant, it may have a long-term negative impact on crop performance. Soybean plants in flooded or saturated fields are more likely to develop root issues, and warm temperatures favor the root disease Phytophthora.

The magnitude of injury to soybean plants is determined by several factors, including the variety, the plant development stage, the duration of flooding, and the air and soil temperatures. Favorable growing conditions, after the water stress is removed, are important to help plants recover from the stress. However, the yield in stressed areas will be lower, compared with areas where no stress was observed.


Hans Kandel

Extension Agronomist Broadleaf Crops


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