Harvesting and Storage Tips

To all Soybean Seed Growers:

Reminders for the harvesting and storage of seed soybeans.

  • Prior to harvest, combines, trucks, wagons, storage bins and other handling equipment must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent contamination

  • Mechanical damage is the most important factor that reduces soybean seed quality at harvest.
  • When combining watch for mechanical damage, i.e. cracking of seed coats, split beans due to improper combine settings. Better to have a few pods in sample than split and cracked beans
  • Mechanical damage also happens if soybeans are too dry. Ideal moisture is 14.0% to 15.0%.
  • For loading and unloading, use of Air Vac or belt conveyors are preferred. If using augers here are some points to keep in mind to reduce mechanical damage.
    1. run auger as full as possible – regulating this by speed
    2. worn flighting or auger not running full will result in cutting or splitting beans
    3. too much banging around in empty auger may also reduce germination
  • After storage bin is full it is important to aerate to remove “field heat” regardless of how dry the beans are. The beans have to be cooled down relative to outside temperature or condensation can occur – possibly spoiling the beans on top. Aerating will also bring the whole bin to a uniform temperature. Try to maintain a temperature differential of no more than 5°C average, although don’t freeze the beans or this will cause more mechanical damage if unloading bin while frozen. This is most important in late fall when outside temps are cooling down for winter and also in spring when outside temps are warming up. It is best to aerate on days when outside air is cool and dry.
  • Check storage bin often to ensure no signs of heating. One method is to take a long steel rod. (i.e., 3/8″) and push down into the center of the bin, from the top, as far as possible. After a few minutes, while pulling out rod check for warm spots on the rod. If areas feel warm, aerate bin and repeat above. If the rod is difficult to push into the beans, that is usually another sign there is a problem.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us anytime.

Safe and Successful Harvest