Freezing temperatures detrimental to emerged soybeans in central Illinois

Soybeans planted on March 30th as part of Ehler’s Ultra-Early soybean planting trial were turning dark green by 10:00 AM on April 24th, following below freezing temperatures the night before.

A central Illinois agronomist says early emerging soybeans in his area were damaged by freezing overnight temperatures.

Kris Ehler, sales agronomist for Ehler Brothers Company based in Thomasboro tells Brownfield many local farmers took advantage of a soybean planting window right after Easter and the crop was starting to emerge. But, the temperature Sunday night dipped down to 25 degrees and on Monday those plants were trending toward what he calls “black death.”

“Soybeans don’t have a good poker face, you can tell whether or not they are going to make it within 3 to 4 hours after a freeze event. The plant will go from a light green, to a dark green, to black. If the planting window fell between April 10th and April 12th, possibly the 13th depending on planting depth, those are really in jeopardy of seeing some mortality.”

He says some plants might break off and still have a growing point intact, but if the number of plants turned black is very high, he recommends replanting since it is still early.

“I really don’t think growers give up a whole lot of yield prior to May 10th. So, if we can get those soybeans replanted within that window, and there should still be plenty of time to do so, they are not going to be on the losing side of anything.”

Based on 15 years of early planting trials, Ehler thinks soybeans that had not emerged should be fine, but any corn that has been in the ground for 10 days or more is likely in jeopardy as cool temperatures remain in the forecast.

Interview with Kris Ehler on April 24, 2023

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