Sustainability

Ground Work 2021: Rain Needed to Fill Out North Dakota Soybeans

Our fields are getting drier. After several weeks of ideal conditions, my town has recorded just 1 cm, or 0.4 inch, of rain in the past month. Our crops still look ok, because our fields have been very wet the past two years. The crops have been relying on moisture left in the soil.

The soybeans are setting pods and starting to fill them. Some soybean varieties are still flowering, but some of the later flowers might not make it because of the high heat and lack of rain. The heat has been terrible, with high temperatures between 30°C and 35°C, or high 80s up to 95°F.

We have finished applying herbicide for weed control in soybeans in all the fields that needed it.  While scouting our soybeans, we found grasshoppers in three fields, so we added an insecticide when spraying those fields.

Right now, the soybeans look ok. However, if they don’t get more rain while the soybeans are filling, I expect we will have below average yields.

Our corn also looks ok. Corn roots are able to grow deep in the soil to find the remaining moisture from the previous wet seasons. We can count the kernels on the cobs as they are in the process of filling out. The corn could definitely use rain, but because its roots go deeper, we are likely to get an average crop, even if we don’t get additional rain.

We are nearly done delivering last year’s corn crop to local ethanol plants. We want to empty and clean out our storage bins before this year’s harvest starts. Depending on the weather, we likely will start harvesting soybeans in mid-September. With the dry conditions, the corn will likely to be ready shortly after that.

We have done what we can to protect crop yield and quality. Now we wait for the crops to mature, and hope we get some rain to improve yields.

This field update is funded by the soybean checkoff. To share or republish part or all of this Ground Work 2021 update, please link to the original article and credit www.USSOY.org.

Matt Gast

Matt Gast is a first-generation farmer from Valley City, North Dakota, where he grows soybeans and corn. He serves as a United Soybean Board director and is also involved with the North Dakota Soybean Council. One of his goals for the farm is ensuring its longevity for his three sons: Jackson, Bentley and Easton. He’s interested in sustainability on his farm and for all U.S. soybean farmers.