This regular feature provides an update of crop growing conditions from several farmers, along with happenings across the farm to ensure overall quality of their product.

Soybean growers in Nebraska are doing what they can to beat the heat. 

With temperatures predicted to rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit early next week, Nebraska soybean growers are preparing their crops to try to mitigate the damage. 

“We’re going to be starting our irrigators about a week before the extreme heat is expected to hit,” said Eugene Goering, who farms in Nebraska. “If we keep water on them, they’ll do okay in the heat. We do have some dry land corners that are going to be stressed, but overall, I think we’re in pretty good shape.” 

Though excessive heat is descending upon Nebraska, they have had timely rains throughout the growing season that have left growers in decent shape compared to other areas in the Upper Midwest. 

“We’ve had really good rains,” said Goering, who sits on the Northern Soy Marketing (NSM) board of directors. “We’ve had periods of extreme dryness and then periods of good rains. So right now, we have excellent moisture – it’s the least we’ve ever irrigated in July.” 

In Wisconsin, soybean growers are busting out their rain dance moves.  

“We’re surviving on tenths of an inch of rainfall here and there,” said NSM Director Nancy Kavazanjian.  

On top of dry conditions, they’ve also been dealing with the effects of extreme haze from Canadian wildfires. 

“Nobody really knows what all these hazy days are going to do as far as soybean maturity,” said Kavazanjian. “Soybeans are a phototrophic crop, meaning they respond to sunlight. This haze is severely impacting the amount of sunshine we’re seeing.” 

According to Christopher J. Kucharik, professor and agronomy department chair at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the presence of wildfire smoke “has the potential to impact crops in three primary ways: 1) reduction in amount of solar radiation received by plants, 2) an increase in the ratio of diffuse to direct beam radiation, and 3) supporting the development of ozone in the lower atmosphere.” 

Despite the obstacles, Kavazanjian reports that the soybean crop is hanging in there. 

“The soybeans are getting their legs,” she said. “They’re growing really nicely despite it all. There’s still a big question as to what they’re going to look like when we get to fall because of the constant haze and lack of sunlight.” 

With harvest still a few months away, the next several weeks will be critical to the development of the Upper Midwest soybean crop. Whatever comes their way, soybean growers will do everything in their power to ensure the best crop possible.