Corn harvest has started around here, and soybean harvest isn’t going to be far behind! Let’s take a look at the soybean fields we have been watching over the last few months…
This is the first soybean field we have been watching. The leaves are starting to turn yellow and die. Before the soybeans are harvested, all the leaves will die and fall off, and the soybean pods (and the beans inside) will dry out, just like corn kernels dry out before the corn is harvested.
Here are some of the soybean pods. The beans inside have gotten quite a bit bigger than they were a month ago. All the fuzzy hairs on the outside of the pods and the stems are still there, to help keep some of the bugs (pests) off the plants.
One soybean plant can have dozens of soybean pods. Most pods will have 3 soybeans inside, some only have 2, and a few will have 4. The pods grow almost all the way down to the ground, so it is important to cut the plants as close to the ground as possible during harvest so all the beans are collected.
This is the double-crop field we have been watching. These soybeans were planted later than the first field, but these are a different variety of soybean. They are a shorter season plant, which means they will grow and mature a little faster than the plants in the first field. This field will not be quite ready to harvest at the same time, but it won’t be far behind. You can see how the leaves on these plants are just starting to turn yellow.
Here is one soybean pod from these plants. The beans inside may still develop a little more and get a little bigger before they are ready to harvest.
Just look at all these soybean pods on one plant!
I’m always amazed at how fast the fields become ready to harvest at this time of year. Farmers are very watchful as the weather turns cool and the days turn shorter so they can start harvesting their fields as soon as possible. It always seems to go so fast, but I know that there are many long hours that go into harvest every year.