What Should My Soybeans Look like when they are Ready to Harvest?

Prepared by Dennis Lange, MAFRI Farm Production Advisor (Altona)

For new growers knowing when soybeans are ready to harvest can be difficult.  Driving by the field, you may think that it is ready to harvest, but on closer inspection you may find plants that still look yellow to green instead of tan to brown. If your entire field has a greenish tinge or a majority of plants in the field once you walk in look green, your beans would not be ready to harvest.  If there is only a few plants that look like this, you may be ok or this might represent only a low spot or less advanced spot in the field. 

Note the green stem in the group of brown stems


This Field is 5 – 7 days away from harvest (credit: D.Lange, MAFRI)

The soybean plants and pods when mature, should be brown or tan in color and the seeds should rattle in the pod.  When the crop is mature and ready for harvest the seeds would be oval shape and firm.

Seeds on left are ripe and ready to harvest, seeds on right are green and not ready to harvest

Once the combine pulls into the field check the moisture which should be below 13%. The Canadian standard for safe storage is 14% moisture, however soybeans going into the USA require 13% moisture and since a large portion of the soybeans do go into the USA  it best to keep below that 13% level.

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