Green Stems Slow Soybean Harvest For Iowa Growers

A headache to harvest, soybean fields are showing signs of "Green Stem Syndrome" in some areas of Iowa this fall.

Published on: Oct 2, 2012

Some people talk about how certain varieties of soybeans tend to have more problems with green stem syndrome showing up than do other soybean varieties, but this is really hard to track down, says McGrath. "Most of what is being said about soybean varieties and green stem syndrome is observation information or what the seed dealers are sharing anecdotally. I don't see farmers being able to make any soybean variety decisions based on whether or not we think one bean variety is more prone to have green stem syndrome than another variety."

What can you do about green stem syndrome and harvesting those beans?

"Not much," says McGrath. "There has been some talk of spraying Gramoxone to desiccate the plants, knock the leaves off, and speed the process up. When I worked as a retail agronomist in an ag chemical dealership, we tried spraying Gramoxone on soybeans with no tangible success. Maybe other people have had different experiences, so feel free to share them with me."

Grinding through the fields with your combine trying to harvest these green beans prior to a hard frost is likely the best option you can take. However, farmers point out that waiting for stems to dry is risky as pods can split or shatter, beans can become too dry, or bad weather can wreck fields. "The drought our beans went through in Iowa also appears to have created increased issues with early pod splitting in many fields, so waiting for stems to dry is extra risky this year," says McGrath.