It appears that the soybean harvest getting back on track. Dry weather has allowed many farmers to get out into the fields to get their harvesting done. But it’s wet. Many are harvesting wet beans- and that can mean limited options. Read on to learn more about how to deal with those wet beans, quality concerns, and what you might need in order to file an insurance claim.
Anthony Greder of DTNPF has reported on the USDA crop progress numbers. Throughout the month of October, the soybean numbers across the nation have been lower due to wet weather in several areas of the Midwest. Last week, the soybean harvest percentages started to pick up. It appears that many soybean farmers were finally able to take advantage of a dry spell and harvest.
As of October 28, 72% of the nation’s soybeans had been harvested. That jumped 19% from the previous week, but is still 9% behind the five-year average for this week.
The states that appear to be having the most concerns with getting the soybean harvest complete are Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.
At this point, a top concern for many soybean farmers is getting beans dry. Waiting out the weather and allowing the beans to dry in the field is usually the best bet for most. Sara Bauer of iGrow.org, a service of the SDSU Extension provided tips for harvesting wet beans.
Commercial outlets usually only take dry beans with 13-14% moisture. That, paired with high commercial storage costs and the grim market outlook for soybeans, has left many growers with one option. The bin. If storing soybeans for several months or longer, it’s critical to get moisture levels down to 11% if possible.
Harvesting Wet Beans
As soybean pods mature and brown, the moisture inside decreases rapidly. ISU researchers have found that in the first twelve days after maturity begins, soybeans can dry at a rate of 3.2% per day. After that point, dry-down levels off and remains around 13%. Cool and wet weather during this dry-down period can cause the beans to absorb more moisture, and that’s a large part of what’s been delaying the soybean harvest this season.
As it gets later in the season, the possibility of soybeans drying out in the field decreases every day. An article written by Charles Hurburgh, Steve Johnson and Meaghan Anderson of the ISU Extension was published on AgUpdate. The three authors provide advice on the best ways to manage wet soybeans and deal with quality issues. They also give tips on filing insurance claims.
It might be best to go ahead and harvest beans, regardless of their moisture, even if you have to use corn bins for storage. To estimate the maximum storability of soybeans, you need to consider the temperature and moisture content.
For example, if soybeans harvested at 15 percent moisture sit at 60 degrees Fahrenheit for six weeks, approximately one-half of their storage life is used up. If they are then dried to 13 percent moisture and held at 50 degrees, they have a maximum of 8 months of storability remaining before they are likely to drop by one U.S. grade.
Getting Them Dry
Air drying soybeans is best. In Iowa, an airflow of 1 cfm/bu will dry out soybeans to 18%. Typical October weather will get the moisture content to 12-13%, but this season hasn’t been a normal season. Adding a little heat when drying will certainly get the job done, as soybeans are extremely sensitive to it.
If drying in a bin, use very little heat. In continuous dryers, don’t raise the temperature over 120 degrees. If you’re using a gas fired burner, be careful. They can ignite soybeans easily.
If completely air drying the soybeans isn’t possible this fall, either market them or cool them down to below 30 degrees. They can then be dried next spring.
If you’re seeing mold in your soybean fields, those beans have basically lost their shelf-life. They probably should be dried and marketed as soon as possible. Sometimes moldy beans that have been aerated can improve in appearance. Some of that mold can be removed by the combine. If mold is present, elevators and processors will grade them as Total Damage. 2% is allowed for US No. 1 soybeans, and 3% is allowed for US No. 2 soybeans.
If you’re having quality concerns, be sure to contact your insurance agent right away. You might be eligible for a quality adjustment. The minimum loss for damage is 8%. Samples will need to be taken in the field or in the bin before they go to market. It’s recommended to use an Official FGIS grading agency for determinations.
Make sure that you record just about everything. The information you take down is considered “soft record” by the Risk Management Agency. If you have a loss, “hard records” like grain bin measurements, warehouse receipts or settlement sheets will be necessary.
You should provide proof of production for your agent as soon as you finish the harvest. Those numbers can also be used for the FSA when applying for an MFP payment.
Check out this related article from Ag Nook, “Soybean Shatter Chatter“.
This harvest season has been tough for many soybean farmers, and it’s forcing a lot of tough decisions. If you’re seeing quality concerns and it’s possible you many need to file a claim, keep good records. It’s critical to get your beans dry, so all of the hard work you’ve put in this season doesn’t go to waste.