Trifoliate stage best for rolling soybeans after emergence

Wait until the first trifoliate to roll your soybeans, says MAFRI’s Dennis Lange. Rolling at this stage will ensure the field is past the hook stage where most of the damage to the plants will occur. If you roll when the plants are just at the unifoliate stage there is a greater chance of some soybeans being at the hook stage. The centre plant in this photo is in the first trifoliate stage, with three leaflets in the middle, two first true leaves lower on the stem and the cotyledons below that.  
photos: Dennis Lange, MAFRI

Beans at hook stage_DL_opt.jpeg soybean 1st trifoilate_opt.jpeg Beans at unifoliate st_opt.jpegDon’t roll soybeans until they reach the first trifoliate stage, advises Dennis Lange, or you risk breaking too many young plants.

“You don’t want any beans at the hook stage,” said the Altona-based farm production adviser with Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives. “Only roll if you have some stones or dirt that will cause you some harvest issues.”

If you have to roll, wait until later in the day when it’s warmer and plants are less brittle, he said.

Rolling pushes down stones, flattens dirt clods and levels the field making soybeans easier and faster to harvest in the fall, while also reducing the risk of stones damaging the combine.

The flatter the field, the lower the combine pickup can be set making it easier to harvest low-hanging seed pods.

When rolling fields farmers should check to see if plants are breaking.

“That’s really important. Don’t do a 160-acre test strip,” Lange said.

Ideally, soybean fields should be rolled shortly after seeding, before the crop emerges, but not when the soil is wet, he said. Rolling wet soil causes compaction and can create a crust making it difficult for soybean seedlings to emerge.

About the author


Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.



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