Assessing Flood Damage to Soybean Fact Sheet

Shawn Conley, State Soybean and Wheat Specialist University of Wisconsin, Madison Grover Shannon, University of Missouri, Division of Plant Sciences

Severe flooding has many low-lying soybean fields underwater. As the water dissipates yield potential and replant questions will arise. Flooding can be divided into either water-logging, where only the roots are flooded, or complete submergence where the entire plants are under water (VanToai et al., 2001). Water-logging is more common than complete submergence and is also less damaging. Soybeans can generally survive for 48 to 96 hours when completely submersed (Image 1). The actual time frame depends on air temperature, humidity, cloud cover, soil moisture conditions prior to flooding, and rate of
soil drainage. Soybeans will survive longer when flooded under cool and cloudy conditions. Higher temperatures and sunshine will speed up plant respiration which depletes oxygen and increases carbon dioxide levels. If the soil was already saturated prior to flooding, soybean death will occur more quickly as slow soil drainage after flooding will prevent gas exchange between
the rhizosphere and the air above the soil surface. Soybeans often do not fully recover from flooding injury.
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