Soybean growers eliminate green stem issues

It is a sound most soybean farmers dread, but know all too well. The rumbling, clattering noise of immature or “green” soybean stems clogging a combine during harvest season.

And with farmers needing every profitability edge possible this year, possible delayed harvests and additional wear and tear on equipment from green stems are simply not options.

Compare the sounds of green stems:

* Combine Harvesting (normal operation, no green stems)

* Green Stem Combine Harvesting (harvesting through green stem soybeans)

Green stems can occur in soybeans at the end of the season just as farmers are preparing for harvest. In most cases the plants do not properly mature, leaving the end-of-season stems and leaves green and intact versus the brittle, brown stems of mature soybean plants. These green stems not only add debris and clutter to the yield, but are extremely difficult to harvest — causing slowdowns or even halting the harvest entirely.

“We'll have to drop from picking at four to four-and-a-half miles an hour to like two to two-and-a-half, doubling our harvest time,” said soybean farmer Michael Boyd. “But usually we'll just stop because it’s just so hard on the combine to try and pick them when they're green stem."

Though researchers continue to suspect a variety of reasons for green stems, many farmers have seen improved results over green stems as well as an overall increased yield by using Domark Fungicide as part of their annual program. In 2008 university trials, Domark was five times less likely to cause green stems than other fungicides.

“Strobilurin fungicides tend to keep the plant greener longer, sometimes well into the end of the season. This can be problematic if the soybeans do not properly reach maturity in time for harvest,” said Gerald Holmes, Valent product development manager. “In various trials, we have seen that as a triazole chemistry, Domark does not have the same issues with green stem effect that is seen among strobilurin fungicides.”

Rick Kraus, Valent marketing manager for Domark, said in a year of tighter margins soybean farmers are especially focused on achieving the optimum return on their investment from fungicides.

“Domark provides farmers an average five-to-seven bushel yield improvement without the fear of end-of-season green stems and the related harvest inefficiencies,” Kraus said. “By putting out the best fungicide at the proper timing in the season, farmers will be better able to have stronger yield and a smoother harvest.”

For more information about Domark, Valent U.S.A. Corporation or Valent's full product line, call 800-6-VALENT (682-5368).