Soybeans Still in the Field Worth Harvesting


To say that we’ve had a challenging harvest season in regards to soybeans is probably the understatement of the 2015 growing season.  NC State Extension Soybean Specialist Dr. Jim Dunphy says it’s possible, but not likely that there will be a shortage of soybean seed for the 2016 growing season:

“Rhonda, I think it could, and I’m sure it will, on some select varieties. The shortage may not be as serious as our weather would suggest it to be.  I think several of the companies, essentially planted some extra acres of seed beans to make sure that they did not run short, literally they’re taking care of their customers.  And of course they hate to miss out on a sale, but the bottom line is that they end up taking care of their customers and that’s a good thing.  So, we may not be as short as our weather would have dictated.”

Dunphy says we should know by the first of February what the availability of see will look like:

“It’ll probably be the end of the month before we get a good handle on quality and germination percentage to have a good enough guess as to whether it’s going to be a serious shortage or a minor shortage, or any shortage at all, which I assume we will.”

Here in the middle of January, there’s still soybeans in the field says Dunphy:

“Yes, there certainly are.  Our researchers, our breeders, public and private had the same problem producers had, they can’t get those combines in the fields to get the beans out.  And some of them won’t come out.  Our tests here at the university, several of us have essentially quit harvesting, we didn’t get done, we quit, because the quality on everything we’ve got left in the field is so poor that we can’t really know how to interpret the results.”

For producers with beans still in the field, Dunphy says there’s a market for them:

“Right now, the second week of January, yes, Cargill at Smithfield is taking damaged beans, including beans that are fairly high percentage damaged.  They’re discounted, of course, but at least there’s a market for them.  And a good enough price that in most cases the beans are worth harvesting.  We had a pretty go crop in many areas in the middle of October, there was probably some yields out there.  So, even if we get a heavily discounted price, it’s probably still worth the cost of combining them.”

In many places there was a good crop before the rains in October, and Dunphy says based on volume alone, they’re probably worth harvesting:

“It’s not a question whether they end up with a profitable crop, or an unprofitable crop, it’s question whether they can get more for the beans than what it costs to harvest them.  And as long as Cargill is taking them at Smithfield, on the current basis for the vast majority of the fields, yes, it’s worth harvesting, and hauling to Smithfield.”

Dr. Jim Dunphy, NC State Extension Soybean Specialist.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.