Cat Salois knows a thing or two about soybeans. She's a soybean breeder and research assistant in soybean product development for DuPont Pioneer, based in Napoleon, Ohio. She evaluated soybeans at the Pioneer research station near Tipton recently, which received a healthy rain just before her visit. She explains that the rains will help some varieties more than others.
"It will really help the fuller season varieties," she says. "They are still blooming and putting on pods. It may help the mid-season varieties a bit, but the early varieties are about finished."
Which varieties those are, no matter the company you buy from, will depend upon where you are located. Group III soybeans are the typical maturity group for central to north-central Indiana.
"We normally see pretty much a straight line on a chart with yield increasing from early-season varieties for an area to fullest season varieties," she says. "This year it may be a bell-shaped curve, with a dip in the middle for mid-season varieties."
"Early maturing beans this year tend to have numerous pods and short nodes," she says. That's because flowering started early and these beans produced many pods before the extreme heat hit around the Fourth of July.
Medium-season varieties tended to be flowering during the hottest part of the season, during the Fourth of July week. That resulted in a lot of flower abortion, she says. Those varieties may not recover to a significant degree, even if they received rains lately.
Full-season soybeans may have aborted flowers early, and the pods may begin farther up the stem than normal, but they were in a position to cash in on the late July and August rains. They were still producing flowers and pods. However, if you missed out on those rains, then your late-season beans may suffer as well.