Dealing With Wet Frozen Soybeans

Shawn P. Conley, Soybean and Wheat Extension Specialist, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin

Like many farmers the UW BeanTeam still has soybean sitting in the field. Both locations (FDL and East Troy) have not been fit to run since maturity and FDL had 7 inches of snow piled on top of standing water yesterday. Anyway…. once fields freeze and we can get back after the crop, here are a few things to consider. Check back as this information will likely be updated as I glean more information and receive audience feedback. This information is provided in greater detail in the below two excellent resources.

  1. Call and mail (i.e. paper trail) your crop insurance agent to let them know you may not be able to get the crop out before the deadline.
  2. Take what you can get this fall. Soybean does not “store” well in the field over the winter. Shatter and seed quality degradation may lead to an unmarketable crop if taken in the spring.
  3. Set the combine and check it often if you are running snow through the housing. The cold temperatures may be to our advantage as the snow should move easier.
  4. Header shatter will be an issue. Make sure you set the combine to manage flow. Remember for every 4 seeds per square foot on the ground that equates to roughly a bushel in yield loss.
  5. Double check your combine moisture with another device to verify correct moisture as this cold weather will wreak havoc with sensors. We pulled beans today and they were 16.4%.
  6. Call ahead and around. Verify what the elevators will take in terms of moisture content. Furthermore some elevators are assigning a wet bin to assist farmers in harvest.
  7. Do not harvest and store wet beans on farm. I have heard some coffee shop talk about cutting and “freeze blasting the soybean seed”. This is a bad idea.
  8. Don’t use too much heat. It appears that 100F is about the right temperature to minimize splits.

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