Minimize Soybean Harvesting Loss and Maximize Cost per Bushel
Posted: September 18, 2012
Just yesterday I saw soybeans being dropped at a local mill at 11% moisture. It has been my experience that once 95% of the pods turn brown about a week later it’s time to combine. In this case the grower is giving the mill about 2% of his crop free of charge for the dryer than standard soybeans. I still remember John Yocum referring to the fact that after it the plants first reach harvestable moistures dry matter losses occur simply by the alternating day night and heavy dew.
Here is a picture of our crop teams’ soybean planting date study. Same variety, same seeding rate, same pest management program, the only variable was the date of planting in these plots from March 28th to May 28. It is important to consider the variety since some varieties will have slight differences in the pod integrity and not tend to split as the heavy dew at night can speed up this process. This picture was taken last week and the soybeans on the left (planted two weeks earlier than the beans on the right) could be harvested anytime now. If I were to wait as little as two weeks to harvest the plots until the rest of the planting dates matured I would lose a significant amount of soybeans from shatter losses.
Numerous tests of soybean combine losses show that up to 12 percent of the soybean crop is lost during harvest. Harvesting losses cannot be reduced to zero, but they can be reduced to about 5 percent. Combines can be operated to reduce losses without affecting the harvesting rate. This guide describes the major sources of loss. Consider shatter losses of 2 percent acceptable. Average losses are 5 percent or more.I If you assess the discount for bringing soybeans in a little wetter than normal there will be some cost drop the beans. In the following table you will note the relative cost per bushel of soybeans to be around 30 cents. This is a cost that is easily overcome by the reduced harvest loss in the field at current market prices. It appears that soybean dryer than 13% return about the same to management but this does not take into account the penalty of shatter loss in the field.
|Discount of $.12 Per Bushel Per Point of Moisture (2% Per Point of Moisture)||Discount of $.20 Per Bushel Per Point of Moisture (3.3% Per Point of Moisture)|
|Soybean Harvest Moisture, %, Wet Basis||Weight of Water Loss (+) or Gain (-), Lbs/Bu to Convert Soybeans to 13.5% Moisture||$.12 Discount Per Bushel, $||Price Per Bushel, $||Value Per Bushel, $, Adjusted for Moisture||$.20 Discount Per Bushel, $||Price Per Bushel, $||Value Per Bushel, $, Adjusted for Moisture|