Preparation is key to a farmer’s success, especially as harvest time approaches. As summer starts to fade away, prepare to maximize your soybean yield with this list of helpful tips:
- Inspect your machinery: Make sure your belts, chains, rasp bars, cylinders and other parts on your harvesting equipment are clean and have minimal wear before you are ready to use them. Inspect the cutter bar thoroughly, as the majority of machine losses occur at the head, and be sure all knives are sharp and ready to be as effective as possible.
- Consider timing: When it comes to harvest, timing is everything. Corn is often harvestable before soybeans, so be sure to analyze each of your fields before beginning to gather your pods. This will help you capitalize on your time and is crucial to yield success.
- Scout your fields: Weeds can put a serious dent in your harvest plans. Viny weeds may pause the harvest process, so be sure to spray or wait until they drydown to begin harvesting. Green stem, though often unpredictable, is another surefire way to interrupt harvest. If your crop is experiencing green stem as a result of having few pods, wait for a frost to freeze out the green.
- Monitor moisture: Moisture levels vary from field to field based on weather and environment conditions. Repeated drying and rewetting cycles can stunt your yield significantly, so vigilantly monitor and plan to harvest your soybeans around 15% moisture. Below 11% may cause your crop to shatter and higher than 15% is too wet to harvest. To get the best return on investment, some farmers may want to consider blending loads of high and low moisture soybeans before delivering them to the elevator to create an average of 13% moisture level.
- Plan ahead for storing: If you plan on storing your soybeans for future delivery, be sure to scout for risks that may ruin your harvest. Vines, green pods and weed seed can spoil your entire bin if left unchecked.
- Be safe: Harvest can be exhausting and dangerous. Be sure to get enough rest, stay hydrated and follow all machinery operating warnings to ensure a successful and safe harvest.