Late-Season Soybean Scouting and Harvest Prioritization

Before the combine is taken out of the shed is the ideal time to scout soybean fields, prepare for a successful harvest and begin planning for next year. 

Soybean Scouting and Harvest Prioritization

To help increase harvest efficiency and minimize in-field losses, begin by developing a plan. Scout fields to identify standability, disease, stress conditions, uneven maturity and moisture content issues. Relative maturity and planting date can also help when estimating harvest prioritization. Take field history, crop rotation and the type of stress (environmental, pest, nutrient leaching, etc.) into account as well. These factors can help predict which fields may have uneven maturity or fields that will need to be harvested early. 

A few additional factors to consider when determining harvest prioritization:

  • Scout different parts of the field.

  • Check soybean standability. Due to moist, fertile soils, increased vegetative growth can occur, leading to tall, leggy plants that may lodge. Yield potential is most affected if lodging occurs around the seed (R5) growth stage.1,2 Pod and stem disease can be more problematic in lodged beans. Harvest losses due to soybean lodging can vary from 3% to 10%, depending on several factors.2

  • As you survey soybeans for diseases, be alert for sudden death syndrome.

  • Harvest non-infested soybean fields before white mold-infested fields, to be sure the combine does not deposit any residual sclerotia in the non-infested fields.

Future Management Decisions

As you prepare for next season, it’s important to know what is currently present in fields. Tracking this data observed while scouting will likely lead to improved management decisions in the future for maximum profit and performance potential.



1Woods, S.J. and Swearingin, M.L. 1977. Influence of simulated early lodging upon soybean seed yield and its components. Agronomy Journal. 69: 239-242. 

2Holshouser, D. 2011. Hurricane Irene may be beneficial to Virginia soybeans … still lodging will lower yield potential. Virginia Cooperative Extension. 170902161300.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Performance may vary, from location to location and from year to year, as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible and should consider the impacts of these conditions on the grower’s fields. 

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