The most recent crop progress report pegged the development of Iowa’s soybean crop on the whole at eleven percent ahead of last year. But even with positive numbers, beans in some areas are lagging behind.
As Iowa State University Field Agronomist Mark Johnson explains, a major hurdle for the soybean crop this year has been precipitation from earlier this month and even back in June.
“They taught us, people breath in oxygen, breath out carbon dioxide and plants are just the opposite,” says Johnson. “What they don’t tell you is the roots need oxygen. So every time we saturate the soil and we fill in that pore space we crowd out that air, that means we crowd out the oxygen. So plants are actually suffocating, when the soil is saturated.”
Johnson says warm temperatures hold less oxygen and will give up oxygen faster, meaning that many parts of Iowa’s soybean fields were killed outright after heavy rains earlier this summer.