Yellow soybeans and delayed pod set
All that said, soybeans are an amazingly responsive plant with a tremendous capacity to adapt to changing conditions. Now that the weather has improved, additional pods can be set in a short period of time. There are still several weeks left in the growing season, so most pods set now should be able to fill well, provided we don’t get an early fall or return to extreme heat or drought.
In the summer of 1980, Kansas farmers experienced very similar conditions to what we have had this year. However, in 1980 the onset of scorching temperatures did not start until July, and most areas had adequate rainfall up until then. By the first week of August, the corn was decimated and most was going to silage wherever possible.
Soybean prospects were grim and much talk had begun about when to pull the trigger and hay, greenchop, or ensile the soybeans. The first week/weekend in August that year, temperatures dipped into the high 60’s to low 70’s at night and stayed in the 80’s during the day for about a week. In addition, most areas received from 0.5" to slightly more than 1.0" of precipitation. Not much more precipitation was received after that, but the air temperatures did not climb back into the 100’s. This made a soybean crop.
In 1980. a strip plot on the bottom ground just east of the Jackson County Shop/Yard in Holton illustrates soybeans’ ability to bounce back from mid-season drought and heat stress. The plot averaged near 30 bu/acre, with the top yielder at 36-39 bu/acre. The whole field made 30 bu/acre as well. That wasn’t a bin-buster, but it was a crop. The majority of the pods were set at the top, then at the bottom of the plants -- with the least amount of soybeans produced at the middle nodes. This may be what we could expect, in general, from the 2011 crop, providing the weather the rest of the summer is relatively normal.