On Thursday May 6, I published a photo of an emerging soybean field. I have had some requests for an update to the status of this field, given how the frost on Monday May 10 was so widespread and damaging to the emerged corn crop. Farmers would generally agree those beans should be toast.
Here is the same picture from May 6.
Here are the same plants on May 17, one week after the frost. Looks like the top two would live, but the growing point between the cotelydons on the bottom plant looks badly wounded.
The next shot was taken on May 24, two weeks after the frost. Plants are alive, but not growing quite like a normal soybean. A normal soybean produces two single leaves before it starts producing tri-foliate leaves. The single leaves are missing and it is straining to produce tri-foliates. We also see more branching, elongated stems and cupped leaves. New growth is appearing from the auxiliary buds at the base of the cotelydon. It is truly amazing to see such small plants fight for survival.
On May 31, we see plants that look like the one below. Older leaves are beat up and wrinkled, but the plant is growing. The newest tri-foliates are looking normal.
This is a picture of the whole field.
Six random stand counts revealed a surviving plant population of 123,000 to 180,000 plants per acre, with the average of the six counts at 151,000 plants. The field is definitely a keeper and a vivid demonstration of the toughness of a soybean plant.
As a further follow up, I compared the April soybeans to some of our own planted on May 19, exactly one month later. The April beans on the left have begun to form nodules.