An interesting quirk about soybeans

Friday, October 27. 2023

Driving by the Curt’s Hill field this morning, looking to see if the soybeans were ready for harvest, I noticed a special thing happening there.  The neighbor across the county road has a light mounted on the pole near our field.  It’s kind of like a street light in town.  But this light does a strange thing to the soybeans planted there.

In a semicircle of about 25 feet in radius around the pole, the soybeans are not getting ripe at all.  The light at night has tricked them.  Soybeans are highly sensitive to a factor called “photoperiodism“.   Because they do not recognize that the days are getting shorter, they do not initiate becoming mature; they just continue to stay green and grow as if it is summertime.  They will remain so until a frost kills the plants (coming soon, they say).  One particular thing about this spot also illustrates the effect of photoperiodism on soybeans.  In the shadow that the pole makes from the light, the soybeans have matured.  It is very interesting to see this take place.

See the tiny wedge-shaped section of soybeans among the semicircle of green ones? That shows how an artificial light affects the soybeans to remain green, and in the shadow of the pole, normal response occurs!


We were able to cut a small field of double-crop soybeans (DCB) yesterday afternoon.  We went up to the Ross farm.  The 15-or-so acres remaining there were dry enough to bring in.  While I was cutting those acres, Brandon made another trip to other fields, and found that no other location was ready yet.  So, the wait continues into next week.   It has been quite a number of years since our harvest work extended into November.   We hope it does not go very far into next month because November weather can be beautifully warm and sunny, but it can also be miserably cold and wet. The weather and the soybeans’ maturity will tell us when we will go back to harvesting.  Hopefully, by this time next week, #harvest23 will be all done!

Cutting DCB Thursday afternoon. Another baby step on the way to finishing #harvest23.

Thinking about next week’s weather predictions, nights in the mid 20s are going to be a bit of a shock to the system… we have had temps in the 80s most of the week, and that transition to freezing temps is always a difficult adjustment.  But adjust we will.  It is pretty much assured that I won’t be wearing shorts to work next week!

Have a lovely last weekend of October.

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