Harvest and Storage

Approximately two weeks after defoliation harvest begins. Leaves and leaf stems will dry down and fall off the main stem. Pods turn brown and seeds rattle inside when shaken indicating the soybeans are fully mature. Combining can begin at 20 per cent moisture content. Early season frosts can kill the plant and reduce quality with green moist seeds in the sample. Soybean must be stored at less than 14 per cent moisture content. 

Straight combining is the preferred method for soybean harvest. Swathing is also acceptable with equipment able to cut very low to the ground. However, combining should follow immediately to avoid precipitation damage to the swath. Seed damage can be high when soybean is harvested at less than 12 per cent moisture, and harvest losses can also be high under dry conditions. Losses of only four beans per square foot equate to one bushel per acre.

 A floating cutterbar is ideal to minimize harvest losses.Careful adjustment of cylinder speed and concave clearance are needed to minimize cracking and splitting of seed.

Information adapted from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.