Trifoliate stage best for rolling soybeans after emergence

By Allan Dawson,  June 27 Manitoba Co-operator

Don’t roll soybeans until they reach the first trifoliate stage, advises Dennis Lange, or you risk breaking too many young plants.

“You don’t want any beans at the hook stage,” said the Altona-based farm production adviser with Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives. “Only roll if you have some stones or dirt that will cause you some harvest issues.”

These emerging soybeans are at the hook stage. Rolling plants at this stage will cause a lot of plant damage. photo: Dennis Lange, MAFRI

If you have to roll, wait until later in the day when it’s warmer and plants are less brittle, he said.

Rolling pushes down stones, flattens dirt clods and levels the field making soybeans easier and faster to harvest in the fall, while also reducing the risk of stones damaging the combine.

The flatter the field, the lower the combine pickup can be set making it easier to harvest low-hanging seed pods.

When rolling fields farmers should check to see if plants are breaking.
“That’s really important. Don’t do a 160-acre test strip,” Lange said.

This soybean plant is at the unifoliate stage with two true leaves and the cotyledons below. photo: Dennis Lange, MAFRI

Ideally, soybean fields should be rolled shortly after seeding, before the crop emerges, but not when the soil is wet, he said. Rolling wet soil causes compaction and can create a crust making it difficult for soybean seedlings to emerge.

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