Harvesting soybeans with green stems

Reduce shatter losses and plugging problems associated with Green Stem Syndrome in soybeans.

The combination of green, tough stems and dry and brittle pods is creating problems for soybean producers this fall. The most important thing to remember when faced with these conditions is don’t wait until the stems are dry to begin combining. If you wait for the stems to dry, shatter losses occurring at the header or before the combine enters the field will be excessive. The following recommendations should help you reduce shatter losses and plugging problems when harvesting soybean plants with green stems and brittle pods.

Again, it is critical that soybean producers continue to harvest soybeans having green stems even though it requires slower travel speeds and closer attention to cutter bar maintenance, and reel and threshing adjustments. Waiting will lead to large shatter losses. Careful observation while harvesting will help you identify the problem and where it is occurring. Armed with this information, you can apply the recommendations provided in this article, in your operator’s manual and by your local equipment dealer to solve the problem.

This article was produced by the SMaRT project (Soybean Management and Research Technology). The SMaRT project was developed to help Michigan producers increase soybean yields and farm profitability. SMaRT is a partnership between MSU Extension and the Michigan Soybean Checkoff program.