Soybeans are most often grown places that get abundant rain, particularly in August. This usually happens in southern Manitoba, so an unusual problem is emerging there: soybeans are drying down, but staying green.
In this episode of the Soybean School, RealAgriculture’s Dale Leftwich talks to Glenda Clezy, regional grow team advisor with Federated Co-op, about soybeans that are drying down too fast without actually maturing. Clezy saw quite a few cases of this last year when Saskatchewan had similar conditions: wet enough in the spring to get the crop off to a good start, but then too dry all summer, and no August rain.
“What was happening in some cases, in some areas where they didn’t have the moisture, particularly in July and August (which is really what soybeans need at their pod-fill stage), the soybeans were just drying down so quickly, due to that lack of moisture that they dried down really faster than the green could come out of the seed coat,” she says.
There are two different ways that the seed can be dry but green. One way is that the seed coat keeps a tinge of green, and the other is when the cotyledon inside the seed stays green. “One is that the inside of the seed really is still green. You split it open, have a look, and see if that cotyledon inside the seed is still green, now that is a green seed. And that is a grading issue,” she says.
But it is important not to get this confused with the other condition, that of a green seed coat. “You can also have a tinge of colour in the seed coat, but when you split it open inside, the cotyledon is yellow or mature, so it is not susceptible to that same level of downgrading.”
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If you’re concerned, take a walk through your soybean crop, pull off some pods, and split some open, to get a sense of what kind of green (if any) you’re dealing with. You can also send samples into the Canadian Grain Commission for third-party testing.
Dennis Lange, provincial pulse specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, also has some advice. “Just to distinguish when I am talking green seed you have a hard soybean seed, in other words all the moisture has left and you cut that seed in half, that’s where you are seeing the green seed show up. It’s a little different than having soft puffy ones in the field or in your sample, because those ones haven’t totally dried down yet, and those usually dissipate in the bin.”
“Number one, if you have those puffy green seeds in the sample and you’re seeing a lot of un-threshed tough pods in the sample the plants probably aren’t mature enough. The moisture tester doesn’t always tell the whole story,” Lange says.
The important thing is to stay in touch with your buyer. “When you do end up harvesting and you are starting to see a significant amount of green, take it to your buyer. Get a handle on how much green seed you can (have), because seed in the hand is sometimes not as reliable as actually going into the buyer and having them look at it and them cut the seed and seeing exactly where you’re at,” Lange says.