You probably have noticed that some fields of soybeans have moved into their end game and are beginning to show some signs of ageing, losing that green vigor that characterized them all summer. Soon those fields will begin to yellow quite rapidly and warm and dry weather is speeding up the process.

Time to do your last scouting pass to see how your management decisions and the environmental conditions have impacted the crop. So as you move into the end game there are some things to think about and do, such as preparing for harvest and prioritizing fields to harvest first.

Some facts that you need to organize for each field are when it was planted, what variety and maturity group were planted, and whether it experienced stress. All of these dictate to some degree how soon varieties will mature and be ready to harvest.

Scout for diseases that might affect maturity and harvestability such as sudden death syndrome (SDS) and white mold. Conditions were good for an SDS outbreak because of the wet spring. And white mold was a threat, but the recent warmer and drier conditions reduced this risk. Both diseases overwinter in soil. Keep track of where you had these problems and to what extent and how this might impact maturity.

How tall did your soybeans get and are they beginning to lodge? Are the pods close to the ground or are any lying on the ground already? Be aware and check for pods on the ground so you don’t harvest too late.

Keep in mind how to track maturity. Soybeans are at R7 or beginning maturity when one mature pod is found on the plant. They reach R8 or full maturity when 95% of pods have reached their mature pod color, which can range for brown to gold to yellow. Then it’s the wait and see game for soybeans to dry down to 13 to 14% to combine—but not so dry (8 to 10%) that you give up yield.

Agronomist Dr. Daniel Davidson posts blogs on agronomy-related topics. Feel free to contact him at or leave a comment below.

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About the Author: Dan Davidson

Soybean agronomist Daniel Davidson, Ph.D., posts blogs on topics related to soybean agronomy. Feel free to contact him at or ring him at 402-649-5919.