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Accurately identifying soybean growth stages can help growers anticipate the effects of frost, hail, moisture stress, diseases, insects, and weeds on soybean yield potential. Growth stages may also guide you to make timely management decisions, such as when to apply a fungicide or an insecticide. Vegetative (V) growth stages are numbered according to the number of fully developed trifoliate leaves present. Reproductive (R) stages begin at flowering and progress through pod development, seed development, and plant maturity. Vegetative growth stages begin to overlap reproductive stages at about R1. Minimizing stresses during vegetative, and particularly reproductive stages, can help soybeans achieve full yield potential. A new growth stage is established when 50% or more of the plants meet the requirements of the growth stage (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Soybeans are either indeterminate or determinate in growth habit. Indeterminate soybean vegetative growth continues after flowering . Determinate soybeans have generally completed vertical growth by the time flowering is completed. Source. University of Illinois. 1999.13;10;13;10;13;10;
Figure 2. Early-season soybean plant.13;10;13;10;