Now’s the time to make sure you’re completely set for a successful soybean harvest. Generally speaking, this year’s crop will be at about the same stage in maturity as last year. The main difference is going to come from the overall plant structure.
Last year’s moist, warmer conditions gave us more growth and pod height, whereas this year, you’re going to see a shorter crop with pods that are lower to the ground. This can create a few challenges — as well as the potential for lost yield if you’re not careful with your combining.
Missing even four seeds per square foot can add up to a one bushel per acre yield loss.
Since you’re going to be shaving pretty close to the ground to get at those lower pods, make sure your header is set up and calibrated properly and that the knives are sharp. That way, you’re cleanly cutting and not tearing the beans.
Another important factor to keep in mind is your combine travel speed. Because we’ll be challenged with a shorter crop in many areas, slow things down to ensure you’re picking up as much as you can.
Fall (after harvest) is also a great time to set up your soil fertility program for the next season. Getting your potash and phosphate down now can make it more efficient for you to apply your nitrogen and inoculant come the spring.
Doug Fotheringham is an agronomic service representative for Syngenta Canada.