The extended rainy period we are experiencing may cause some soybeans to sprout in the pod. The following is more information.
Soybeans sprouting in pods is most common during extended wet periods when plants are in the late R6 to R7 growth stage and in fields where the crop is either ready to harvest or has been ready to harvest for several days. The seed in these pods are often rotted or sprouted and on their way to being rotted by time the field is harvested. These rotted seed will either blow out the back of the combine if they are shriveled extensively or have lost a lot of their weight or they will go into the grain tank. These rotted seed and or/or rotted pods will contribute to some level of yield loss that will vary from very slight to extensive depending of course on the level of seed rot and sprouting in the field.
The question has come up whether or not a late fungicide application (R5 to R6) would have helped with preventing or possibly stopping this pod splitting and sprouting inside the pods. Late fungicide applications aren’t helpful on preventing pod splitting and seed sprouting in the pods. There are really no options to prevent or slow pod splitting and/or sprouting in the pods. It is a function of adverse weather, a lot of adverse weather in the case of the week, coming when soybeans are reaching maturity leaving them vulnerable to these types of seed rot / sprouting issues.
This is not the first year we have seen pod splitting and sprouting inside the pod. We saw essentially the same issues in the past when we had a similar weather pattern dump excessive amounts of rain across much of the state when much of the soybean crop was in the late reproductive growth stages. Hopefully this weather pattern will blow out of here soon so we can go back to harvesting the extensive amount of crop that was yielding surprisingly well in most places before the rain started.
Information adapted from “Soybean pod splitting and sprouting in the pods” by Trey Koger, Soybean Extension Specialist, Mississippi State University