In many areas of the eastern Corn Belt, soybean growers had difficulties this harvest due to Green stem syndrome. When green stem syndrome occurs, stems and leaves can remain green after pods have matured. As a result, while pods and seeds are mature and dry enough to be harvested, harvest operations can be slowed as combines work to “chew” though green stems and leaves. In addition to creating harvest delays, green stem syndrome can increase fuel consumption and result in shattering losses if growers delay harvest until stems have fully matured.
The occurrence of green stems varies from year-to-year and can be affected by several factors, such as:
• Viral infections
• Insect feeding
• Late planting
• Drought stress
• Application of fungicides
Successful management of green stem syndrome requires management practices that include timely planting, establishing adequate plant stands, irrigation, and controlling insects/pests. Although green stem syndrome slows down harvest, soybeans should be harvested as soon as pods are fully mature in order to minimize harvest losses due to shattering.