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Flooding that occurs during the early soybean reproductive stages is more detrimental than flooding in R6 stage and beyond. Flooding at the beginning of flowering (R1) can cause potential yield losses of 2.3 and 1.5 bu/acre on clay and silt loam soils, respectively.1 Potential yield loss would be expected to be greater in soybeans at beginning pod (R3) to beginning seed (R5) stages. Stages R3 to R5 are critical to soybean yield potential as pods and seeds are set and developed. Stress occurring at R7 or later generally has minimal effect on yield potential compared to stress at earlier growth stages.
It is difficult to predict the yield effect of flooding late in the season. However, there are several scouting and management considerations to keep in mind as harvest approaches:
Sources: 1 Scott, H.D. et al.1989. Flood duration effects on soybean growth and yield. Agronomy Journal 81:631-636. 2 Lee, C. 2006. Options for flood damaged soybeans. Corn and Soybean Science Newsletter. Vol. 6, Issue 3. University of Kentucky. (verified 8/28/14). 3 Sweets, L. 2009. Discolored soybean seed. University of Missouri Newsletter. Vol. 19. No. 20. Pedersen, P. 2004. Soybean growth and development. Iowa State University Extension. PM 1945. Coulter, J. et al. Considerations for flooded corn and soybean. 2014. University of Minnesota Extension Crop e-News. 140828030105