Fall Flooding Damage to Soybeans

Field Facts written by DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Sciences

Types of Flooding Damage

Soybeans are very susceptible to flood damage in the fall, with lodging, shattering, and low quality grain being the most likely issues. Yield may be reduced by each of these problems.

  • Lodging – Soybeans have little resistance to flowing water, so lodging is a likely result where water rapidly enters or leaves the field. Even non-flowing water can kill or weaken roots and leave soybeans susceptible to future lodging.
  • Shattering – When soybeans are mature, splitting of pods and loss of seeds (“shattering”) increases with repeated cycles of wetting and drying. Prolonged wetting due to submersion may amplify shattering losses.
  • Grain quality reductions are inevitable with prolonged submersion of soybean pods. Issues include:
    • Sprouting in the pod if soybean seeds have dried below 50% moisture and imbibe water to increase back above 50% moisture (soybeans are very near to 50% moisture at physiological maturity, or growth stage R7).
    • Diseases may be introduced into pods and seeds by flooding. Diseased and discolored soybean seeds can incur dockages at the elevator.
  • Yield losses can result from several factors:
    • Shattering before or during harvest
    • Severe lodging that limits harvest of plants or pods
    • Silt and debris that reduce harvest of lower pods
    • Sprouting and diseases that reduce seed weight
    • Damage to soybean plants prior to maturity, resulting in smaller seeds
      (see Appendix 1.)

Management of Flooded Soybeans

  • Scout fields thoroughly to identify the type and extent of flooding damage. Continue monitoring fields closely through the pre-harvest period to optimize harvest timing and minimize yield and quality losses.
  • Manage field areas separately – Most fields will not be uniformly affected by flooding. Where practical, consider harvesting flooded and non-flooded field areas separately, as one harvest date may not be optimal for the whole field.
  • Separate grain from flooded and non-flooded fields or field areas, as quality, storage life and marketing channels may be very different from these sources.
  • Early harvest – Fields with severe flooding damage will likely benefit from early harvest to avoid further shattering, lodging and quality problems.

Shattering in Soybeans Due to Repeated Wetting and Drying.


  • Delaying harvest of minimally damaged fields is a viable strategy for preventing or reducing soil compaction. Allowing fields to dry adequately to minimize compaction must be balanced with the risk of harvest losses.
  • Pursue crop insurance claims for heavily damaged fields or field areas. Contact your crop insurance provider before harvesting field so he/she can submit a notice of loss. It will be important to clearly document any flooded areas for insurance or disaster relief assistance claims.

Storing Flood-Damaged Soybeans

A general rule of grain storage is to avoid mixing good quality and poor quality grain. This is especially true for soybeans with quality deterioration due to flooding. Sprouted, disease damaged, and discolored soybeans may lower soybean grade and incur dockage at the elevator. These quality impairments will also lower storage life, often significantly.

To help prevent contamination and extend storage life, clean bins, areas around bins and all grain handling equipment before putting grain in storage. Aerate grain to equalized temperatures throughout the grain mass. Hot spots need to be eliminated by stirring and cooling or removing grain from the bin.

A normal soybean crop should be at 13% for a 6-month storage period, and 12% for 12 months of storage. For lower quality soybeans, experts suggest drying grain one or two points below that required for a normal crop, monitoring grain closely while in storage (at least twice monthly), and in some cases, storing this grain for only six months rather than a year.


Appendix 1. Soybean growth stages and approximate seed moisture, days to maturity and yield loss from plant damage or death that stops seed development before full maturity.

Stage R6 – Full Seed Stage

  • “Green bean” stage – bean fills pod cavity
  • Seed Moist. ~75 – 80%
  • ~25 days remaining until full maturity
  • Yield Loss ~ 20 – 35%

Stage R6.5 – Mid-way from Full Seed to Maturity

  • Pod/seed color between green and yellow
  • Seed Moist. ~65-70%
  • ~16-18 days remaining until full maturity
  • Yield Loss ~ 10 – 15%

Stage R7 – Beginning Maturity Stage

  • All green color lost from seeds and pods
  • Seed Moist. ~55 – 60%
  • ~8 – 10 days remaining until full maturity
  • Yield Loss ~ 0 to 5%

How to maximize crop nutrients throughout the growing season

preventing Iron Deficiency Chlorosis in soybeans with Crop Nutrients

Image Courtesy of Kyle Schafer

Crops demand nutrition throughout the entire growing period, but most of them can’t utilize those nutrients effectively during early development. A shortage of nutrients can lead to significant yield loss and stunted plant development.

How effectively those nutrients are managed in the spring can affect how the crops look in the fall. Weather and other pest and weed influences can also impact crop growth and development, but good nutrient management is essential as crops reach the final stages of growth. As crops move through the grain fill period in the fall, growers need to keep an eye out for nutrient deficiency symptoms. (more…)

Grain Update – September 28, 2018


The USDA Will Release Its Sept 1st Grain Stocks Report At 11 AM Friday.  This Will Give The Market Direction.

The USDA will release its Sept 1st quarterly grain stocks report at 11 am on Friday.  This report will give us the details of the last quarter of the ‘17/18 crop year, and will give us the starting point for the ‘18/19 crop year.  We will be able to see exactly how many bushels of corn and beans were used and exported during the last quarter, and the resulting ending stocks of the last crop year.  The ending stocks from last year will become the beginning stocks for this next ‘18/19 crop year.  The average trade estimate for Sept 1st grain stocks are as follows:  corn – 2.01 B bu, beans – 401 M bu, and wheat – 2.343 B bu.  Any major deviation from these numbers on Friday will cause the market to react, possibly significantly, if any major differences occur.  Our demand for corn has been rather large as of late, but just the opposite with beans without participation from China, our largest bean buyer.  Thus, I would not be surprised if corn carryout was trimmed a bit, but our bean carryout will likely approach 1 B bu for next year.


Do You have Enough Fuel to get Through Harvest?

Harvest time is upon us, as independent businessman in the Agricultural industry there are so many things to worry about during harvest season.

Do I have enough employees? Do I have enough equipment? Will I have any breakdowns? Will I get a good price for my corn/beans?

One worry that may sometimes not be on the forefront is fuel supply.  Do I have enough fuel on the farm to get through the next few days… or the week?  Typical rule of thumb for tank capacity on the farm is: have enough fuel to last four days during peak usage.

For instance, you use an average of 12,000 gallons of off road diesel fuel during harvest. Your average harvest lasts three weeks, you should have at least 2,000-2,500 gallons of off road diesel fuel storage on the farm.

12,000 gallons (divided by) 21 days = 571 gallons per day

571 gallons (x) 4 days = 2284 total capacity

Understandably, this is not always an easy or financially feasible task.  Though we would always like to see someone increase their total storage on the farm for many reasons, we too understand this can’t always happen.  What we do ask though, is that you communicate with us before, during and when you are finished combining, chopping, hauling manure, etc.  It is as simple as a phone call to your local energy rep. Please just give us a few days notice when you are going to start your peak usage and then let us know when you have finished. This gives our delivery drivers some time to prepare and set up a game plan to keep you full.   We will also be touching base during peak usage, just to see if any adjustments need to be made.  I really believe that with proper communication, your fuel supply should not be a worry!

*Quick note* if you are wondering about the benefits of adding fuel storage capacity on the farm, please call one of our Energy Reps and we would be happy to meet with you and go over the financial benefits involved in increasing your storage!


CHS Board announces patronage and equity distribution

Patronage and equity are key benefits for owners of CHS and the cooperative system. CHS is committed to distributing patronage and redeeming equity for its owners while maintaining a strong balance sheet so it can continue to provide owners with the goods, services and supply chain capabilities required for long-term success.

Following the close of fiscal 2018, the CHS Board of Directors has announced the following patronage and equity distribution decisions: (more…)

Grain Update – September 14, 2018

The USDA Surprises Market With Larger Than Expected Corn Yields.

The USDA released its September crop report on Wednesday and confirmed big corn and bean yields.  The surprise was their larger than normal average corn yield of 181.3 bpa which is record breaking in many states.  The market did not expect this big of an increase over the 178.4 bpa yield which was reported in the August report.  This 240 M bu increase in production now puts total corn production at a whopping 14.827 M bu.  With this increase, the USDA also increased feed demand by 50 M bu and exports by 50 M bu as well.  When the dust settled, corn carryout for 18/19 was increased by 90 M bu from 1.684 M bu last month to 1.774 M bu this month.  Record ear counts and ear weights led to the 240 M bu production increase on Wednesday.  At the market close, corn traded down 14 to 15 cents.


Road Safety During Harvest

Road safety is especially important as farmers and motorists share the road during harvest season. As Corn Silage has started in most areas we are encouraging all to be safe this harvest season.

Harvest season generally brings a time when there is an increase in collisions between farm equipment and other vehicles. Vehicle collisions are often the result of the speed differential between slower-moving farm equipment and passenger cars and trucks. Many times passenger vehicle drivers simply don’t have enough time to react if they do not recognize the farm equipment soon enough.

For Farmers

Farmers can take steps to enhance farm machinery visibility.  Before traveling on public roads remember to:

  • Lock brake pedals.
  • Adjust mirrors for good vision.
  • Make sure that all warning flashers, lights, and slow moving vehicle (SMV) emblems are in proper operating condition, clean, and easily visible. If they are covered with dust, wipe them off before leaving the field.
  • Check tire inflation pressures. Inflate the tires to the maximum recommended pressure for long-distance travel.


When traveling on public roads:

  • Watch for potholes or obstacles that could tip the tractor.
  • Listen for cars. Often vehicles will rapidly approach from the rear at three to four times the speed of the tractor.
  • Stay alert at all times to avoid a serious accident. Do not use the cell phone or two-way radio while operating equipment on public roads.
  • Keep a constant lookout for pedestrians, animals, mailboxes, steep ditch embankments and other roadway obstacles.
  • Slow down for sharp curves or when going down a hill.
  • Consider using an escort vehicle to follow behind.
  • Be cognizant of high traffic times, usually mornings and late afternoons. While it often is impossible to avoid operating on the roads during these times, it may be possible to limit road transportation.


Other safety recommendations include:

  • Place the SMV sign, mounted point up, on the vehicle two to six feet above the ground and as near to the rear center as possible.


  • Make sure the tractor has the following lighting and signage:
    • two headlights;
    • at least one tail lamp, mounted on the left side facing the rear of the tractor;
    • at least two amber warning lights, visible from front and rear, mounted at the same level at least 42 inches above ground level;
    • at least two red reflectors, visible from the rear and mounted on either side;
    • amber warning extremity lights, visible from front and rear, mounted over dual- or triple-wheeled vehicles;
    • and the Speed Identification Symbol (SIS) on high-speed tractors and equipment.


For Motorists

Keep in mind the following safety tips for motorists as you share the road with farm equipment:

  • Farm machinery has a legal right to use public roads just as other motor vehicles.
  • Farm machinery can unexpectedly turn onto a public road from a field or driveway. Farm machinery travels slower than normal traffic, often at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less. Automobile drivers must quickly identify farm equipment and slow down immediately to avoid rear-end crashes.
  • Farm machinery operators may not be able to see you because the large equipment or a load can block part of their rear view. If you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
  • Slow-moving farm machinery traveling less than 25 miles per hour should display a slow moving vehicle emblem on the back of the equipment. This is a quickly identifiable sign to other motorists.
  • Machinery that is half on the road and half on the shoulder may suddenly move completely onto the road.
  • Extra-wide farm machinery may take up more than one lane to avoid hitting obstacles such as mailboxes and road signs.


Before passing farm machinery:

  • Check to be sure the machinery is not turning left. Look for left turn lights or hand signals. If the machinery slows and pulls toward the right side of the road, the operator is likely preparing to make a wide left turn. Likewise, sometimes to make a right turn with wide equipment, the driver must fade to the left.
  • Determine if the road is wide enough for you and the machinery to safely share.
  • Look for roadside obstacles such as mailboxes, bridges, or road signs that may cause the machinery to move to the center of the road.
  • Be sure there is adequate distance for you to safely pass.


Rural road rage can be negated if everyone takes the responsibility to have extra patience, careful driving habits, and use high-visibility markings and lighting.


This article originally appeared in OSU Extension News (10/09/08).

Soil Sampling for Management Excellence

Soil sampling is right around the corner, will you be sampling this year? If you have been debating soil sampling or investing elsewhere, ask yourself three questions. How long has it been since past soil testing on your fields? If this is over four years ago, we recommend sampling to reset our fertilizer recommendations for the fields. Secondly, what will I do when my P and K levels fall to a point of yield reduction by mining of nutrients? Soil mining is a technique used by many growers on low price years; but, I advise to test before attempting to cut back on P and K. We know that both P and K have a buffering capacity of building, so once mined the amount of fertilizer to reset levels to optimum can become quite uneconomic. Lastly, ask yourself if your yields being removed from fields have matched the recommendation rate of fertilizer being applied to the field. If these two values have not matched, moreover if the yield removal is greater than the fertilizer applications, areas of mining may be occurring without your knowledge. I highly recommend sampling for this reason alone, before levels fall too low to support the crop planted. 


Looking past the decision process of soil sampling is the utilization of sampling. Growers utilizing precision variable rate applications can help reduce low levels in fields, by placing heavy amounts of P and K in places that will take the fertilizer along with limiting the amount of fertilizer spread on areas of the field with a minimal response to excess fertilizer. Utilizing yield data for proper P and K VR recommendations can lead to an increase in yields in future years, and can help re build soils from yield removals of years past, all while reducing the chances of a mining situation. This means that a proper VR application will include proper planing with your agronomist and Yieldpoint Specialist together. The team at CHS Larsen is trained in providing the right guidance for your fields by analyzing your yields and comparing these to soil test results to build an application that is right for your operation. Call your Agronomist or YieldPoint Specialist today and ask about how soil sampling and variable rate applications can help you be more profitable.  

Discussing potential trade policy impacts

trade policy
Trade is a critically important part of business for CHS and for our farmer-owners, yet U.S. trade policy remains uncertain and dynamic. Tariffs being applied to imports from China and other important international markets – and resulting retaliatory measures from our trading partners – could have an impact across the entire CHS enterprise. This could offer significant challenges as our owners move toward harvest this fall. (more…)

Grain Update – August 30, 2018



The ProFarmer Tour Confirms Big Yields.  The Soybean Market Remains Weak Without A China Trade Deal.

The ProFarmer Crop Tour was held last week throughout the Corn Belt and confirmed big yields in most areas.  The tour started from Ohio and South Dakota last Monday and both sides eventually met up in Northern Iowa on Thursday evening.  Each day the teams reported corn yields and 3’ x 3’ area soybean pod counts in various locations along the route as both sets of teams moved to the center of the Corn Belt.  Corn yields and pod counts were generally better than previously expected and confirmed the big yields the USDA recently used on its last August crop report.  When the dust settled last Friday, the ProFarmer Tour pegged the corn yield at 177.3 bpa and beans at 53 bpa.  The USDA pegged the corn yield at 178.4 and the bean yield at 51.6 in their August crop report.  Generally, there is a tendency for ProFarmer to give yield estimates that are several bushels less than the USDA on both corn and beans.  The fact that the tour gave us essentially the same corn yield and gave us a bigger bean yield tells me that the crop is very good in most areas, and the final USDA yields could grow bigger yet, not smaller.  Additionally, the tour basically confirmed the USDA’s August crop report yields and now most of the trade is wondering how much bigger the final yields could grow to vs being reduced in future crop reports.  The fact that the tour gave us a bean yield that is bigger than the USDA tells me that there is a huge bean crop on the horizon.  Generally, this does not happen, and for the tour to out yield the USDA, something very special has occurred.

On top of this, most areas of the Corn Belt received nice rains in the last week that will finish out the crop in nice order.  Locally, some areas have received almost too much rain, but most areas received 3-4” in the last week.  Receiving this much rain during August really does not happen that often.  This rain will fill the bean pods and add kernel size and test weight to corn.  Ultimately, it will add a significant amount of bushels that will be harvested in the next few weeks.  The big corn and bean crop continues to get bigger and bigger.


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