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The lack of precipitation and the record-setting high temperatures in some areas have caused the soybean crop to dry down rapidly. In fact, the moisture content of the beans has dropped to 8–9 percent in many fields. This situation has producers asking if they should continue to harvest the overly dry soybeans or wait for rain to add the moisture back into the beans. This is an individual decision. I will try to provide some information in this article that should help guide this decision.
Advantages of continuing to harvest the overly dry soybeans:
The main advantage of delaying harvest and waiting for rain is the net value of each bushel harvested may be increased (see table). However, there is some risk associated with this strategy. Harvest losses may increase as soybean pods typically become more brittle with each wetting and drying cycle. Today’s varieties are more resistant to shattering, but the risk increases with repeated wetting and drying cycles.
You should also consider the following factors when making the decision to continue harvesting the overly dry soybeans or delaying harvest operations.
What is the calendar date and weather outlook?
How will the soybeans be marketed?
Are the fields well drained or poorly drained?
Can the overly dry soybeans be harvested without excessive shatter losses or splits?
Do you have the capability to recondition the overly dry soybeans?
Source: Michigan State University
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