Earlier this week, we took a look at the corn in Southwest Indiana. Well, corn isn’t the only thing we grow around here! Soybeans are the other big crop in our area. And let me tell you, these fields are looking pretty good!
Soybeans get planted later than corn. They have a shorter maturity, so they don’t need as long to grow, flower, make seeds (soybeans), and be ready to harvest as corn does. The big push around here is for farmers to get their corn planted first, and then they move on to planting soybeans.
The soybean plants are growing very well. The older leaves are about half the size of my hand.
There is still plenty of new growth coming from the center of the soybean plants. These plants will continue to put on leaves for a little while before they start to flower and grow soybeans.
Did you notice that the stems and the undersides of the leaves look fuzzy? These fine hairs act as a sort of natural pesticide – they help to keep some kinds of bugs off the plants.
We are far enough south in Indiana that we can “double-crop” soybeans. Some farmers will plant winter wheat in the fall. The wheat goes dormant over the winter, and is the first thing to mature in the spring. Once the wheat is cut, the farmers can plant soybeans in the same field and harvest two crops out of the same field in the same year. (Hence, double crop.)
This is a field where wheat was grown this spring. The wheat was recently harvested and the field was replanted in soybeans.
This field was planted later than the first field we say, so the plants are not as big yet. (Give them time, they’ll catch up!) The wheat stubble (residue) is left in the field. This helps with weed control, and it helps to decrease soil erosion until the soybean plants are well established. As the wheat residue decomposes, it will also help to fertilize the soil.
These plants also have a lot of new growth. And even at this young stage, the plants are already sporting their insect-repellant hairs.
Stay tuned this summer. I’ll be bringing you monthly updates on the corn and soybean fields around here.
What’s growing around your home?