As the weather gets cooler and the beans start to brown, harvest creeps closer and closer.

In this latest podcast, CCA Soy Envoy Kevin Nelson talks about how farmers can know when their soybeans are physiologically mature and how moisture figures into harvest strategy.

Physiological maturity for soybeans is achieved at the R8 stage, when 95 percent of pods are a mature brown color and the leaves have dropped, says Nelson. A quick test for harvest readiness is the bite test, where a grower can bite the bean to test for hardness. However, for more accurate readings, a handful of beans should be moisture tested.

13 percent is the optimum moisture for soybeans and it’s ideal to have all beans harvested close to that number. However, this can be a challenge.

“Unlike corn, soybeans can change moisture fairly rapidly,” says Nelson. “They can dry down quickly and then pick moisture up again with humidity.”

The best strategy to achieve maximum profitability is to figure out what the docking rating is for moisture on beans and use that to plan your initial harvest moistures.

It’s okay to start harvest picking beans at a 14 – 14.5 percent moisture, because you don’t want to dip down to the 9 – 10 percent moisture range, Nelson says.

It will take some calculating, but with a little research and time, maximum soybean profitability can be achieved by spending some time strategizing harvest moisture.

To hear the entire podcast and all of Kevin’s tips, listen here.


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