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Soybean yields better than expected

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 10/30/2013 4:17 PM

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Harvest is well underway in Minnesota, with an estimated 75 percent of soybeans harvested in a chunk of the state extending from the Twin Cities down to Worthington in southwest Minnesota.

It still is a picture of variability across the state, said University of Minnesota Extension educator Dave Nicolai.

Soybean yields were better than expected in many areas, he said. In a Renville County plot, yields averaged 59 bushels per acre. He's heard a lot of reports in the 55- to 60-bushel per acre range.

From the cities west to Renville and Sibley counties, 50 percent of the corn is harvested, Nicolai said.

Corn averaged 196 bushels per acre in the Renville plot; the high was 217 bushels. The plot planted in the middle of May, Nicolai said.

Sugar beets are also coming off, with growers waiting until cooler weather to do more aggressive sugar beet harvest, he said. They don't want to pile beets when it's too warm because there will be storage issues.

Liz Stahl, a University of Minnesota Extension educator based in Worthington, said she's heard soybean yields ranging from the 50s to the 60s. A soybean research trial harvested Oct. 1 had moisture of 9 percent. It was located near Luverne. A plot harvested two weeks ago near Pipestone averaged moisture between 9 percent and 9.5 percent.

Overall, growers in southwest Minnesota are pleasantly surprised the soybean yields, especially in light of the summer drought, Stahl said.

Corn harvest has started, with an estimated 15 percent to 25 percent of corn harvested in the Worthington area. There has been extreme yield variability in corn fields, but overall yields have been pretty good. She's heard yields ranging from 20 to 200 bushels per acre, depending on soil type and rain received.

There is a tendency of farmers to leave corn in the field to dry as long as possible, but Stahl said there are stalk quality concerns and the amount of drying likely to happen in the field at this point is limited.

Tillage has also started, but it is still too early to put on anhydrous. Soil temperatures should be below 50 degrees at the six-inch depth before anhydrous is applied.