Early September Frost – What is Going to Happen to My Soybeans?

September 5, 2017  – Pinawa, Winnipeg, Whiteshell and Steinbach overnight forecasts, Environment Canada is stating there is a risk of frost. 

Whether or not there is yield loss in soybeans depends on two factors.  One is how cold it gets and how hard it freezes.  We won’t know the story on that until tomorrow.  The other factor is the growth stage the soybeans are at and that is determined by examining the pods on the plant.  It is all about the pods, so don’t get distracted by the condition of the leaves.  The more advanced/mature the soybeans pods are, the less the potential yield loss.

Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers has a maturity guide on their website that will provide you with excellent pictures and descriptions of the growth stages we are now seeing in our fields.  Use it as your guide in determining where your beans are at.  Click on the link below to access:

http://www.manitobapulse.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Soybean-MATURITY-GUIDE_Apr-2017_WR.pdf

In terms of yield loss, use the following as a guide:

  •  Frost during the R5 stage can reduce yield by 50%-70%.
  •  Frost at the R6 stage can reduce yield by 20%-30%.
  •  Frost at the R7 stage can reduce yield by only about 5%.
  •  At the R8 stage no yield reductions are expected. Dupont Pioneer has also put together a factsheet on frost damaged soybeans that is helpful  https://www.pioneer.com/home/site/us/agronomy/library/frost-damaged-soybeans/.

You will always find some variation around predictions of yield losses due to frost in soybeans.  This is to be expected.  There is no absolutely right answer.  No crop is uniformly at one growth stage and every frost event is unique in how it plays out.  The information above is merely meant to serve as a guide.

Let’s hope we stay well above zero!!

Submitted by: Terry Buss, Beausejour Farm Production Extension Specialist – Crops, MB Ag and Dennis Lange, Pulse Crop Specialist, MB Ag.

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