October 16, 2021

Minimize soybean harvest losses

BERESFORD, S.D. — Combines should be properly adjusted, frequently checked and carefully operated to minimize losses in soybean fields.

“Careful management and proper settings can help reduce harvest loss to 3%, or 1.5 bushels per acre,” said Curt Hoffbeck, Pioneer field agronomist.

Moisture levels should also be closely monitored. Moistures above 13% incur a price discount, but moistures below 13% result in less weight at the elevator.

To help combat losses at the elevator, farmers should begin checking grain moisture before all the leaves have dropped.

Hoffbeck shared tips to reduce yield loss this fall:

1. Harvest beans as soon as they reach 13% to 15% moisture. This will reduce shattering and increase your overall yield.

2. Consider air reels or draper heads in your system.

3. When plants are podded near to the ground, keep your cutting bar low.

4. Consider rolling your soybean fields to allow for smoother travel.

5. Slow down on uneven surfaces.

6. Remember that your wheels should operate about 25% faster than ground speed.

7. Operate the cylinder at the slowest speed that will give complete thrashing to reduce splitting.

8. Increase the rotor/cylinder speed when beans are tough. Slow down as beans begin to dry.

9. Refer to your operator’s manual for the best combine settings and adjustments.

“While some grain loss is expected during harvest, mechanical harvest losses should be monitored often and kept to a minimum,” Hoffbeck said.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor