Minnesota Farmer

Scouting soybeans August 11, 2012

I’ve been out scouting soybeans for some time now, but today was the first day that I took my camera.  I’ve been out looking for weed escapes, insect damage and yield potential.  So here’s what I’m finding in our Minnesota soybean fields.

There is some definite evidence of insect damage on these soybean leaves.  My guess is spider mites.  Spider mites are usually so small you have trouble seeing them.

This is from our last planted field of soybeans.  There are not as many pods here as I’m used to seeing, but there is still potential as there are flowers and smaller pods at the top of each plant.  These are seed beans that are planted in 30 inch rows.

We’ve got a lady bug on this leaf.  This is a good bug.  The problem is that when you see good bugs, there are lots of bad bugs.  This leaf has both aphids and spider mites on it.  Most of the insects will be on the stem or the bottom of the leaf.  To find them on the top of the leaf usually mean there are a lot of them.

There’s a lacewing on this leaf, another good bug.  I’m finding both larval and adults of both of these insects.  I’m sure if I looked hard enough I’d find eggs also.

This plant is obviously in trouble.  There are so many aphids on this plant that the leaves are starting to wilt.  Luckily this plant was the exception, not the norm.

Here’s some soybeans that were planted in 15 inch rows.  They were planted earlier than my other beans and seem to be doing better.  Although the plants are shorter, there are more pods on them.  The tighter row spacing allows the plant to canopy sooner and help hold moisture.  That should mean that we will harvest more soybeans from this field.

Soybean flowers are very small and usually self pollinating.  They grow at the top of the plant and keep putting pods on at each new node as the plant grows.  you can have large fat pods at the bottom of the plant and new flowers at the top.  This helps the plant add seeds when ever the conditions are right.

Soybeans are rarely all the same height.  This patch is showing some moisture stress.  You can also find shorter beans when there is lots of insect pressure, a wet spot or compacted soil.  Soybeans tend to grow taller if there is competition from other plants also.

So there you have it, that is what I’ve been finding in my soybean field.











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