Above: At first glance our field of soybeans looks beautiful and lush. Notice how the plants have filled in the space between the rows. When a soybean field has done this Farmer Fred would say it has a nice canopy.
Above: Soybeans here are being raised for certified seed. The seed company has marked the field and documented the farming practices used here.
Above: Farmer Fred spends some time each day out in the GriggsDakota fields checking for problems that could jeopardize the crop.
Above: Here he finds a heavy crop with the plants still blossoming. We need time for the pods to develop and mature. An early frost would devastate this crop. The beans must be fully mature to be certified as seed. This is the time of year when farmers watch for cold fronts and hope the growing season lasts through September.
Above: In most places that he checks, Farmer Fred finds beautiful clean leaves. He checks the underside of a few leaves and finds a smooth clean surface with no pests visible. Notice the distinctive shape and the three leaf pattern of the soybean plant.
Above: On the underside leaves of another plant, he finds soybean aphids. Aphids move into fields from the edge toward the center. When their numbers reach 250 aphids per plant with 80% of the soybean plants hosting aphids, the field should be sprayed to protect the beans. We have not reached this threshold yet. Farmer Fred will be checking our soybean fields regularly to see how this infestation of aphids progresses. Remember, the pods are not edible for humans even when green. The bristle covered pods do a good job of protecting the beans inside. However, if the aphids damage the plant leaves, the bean production will be reduced.
Above: Another problem is spotted. A few corn plants have grown in the rows. Corn is a weed when growing in a field of soybeans.
Above: We deal with this problem by roguing out the weeds. It is a term that means we walk the rows and pull out the unwanted weed, in this case corn.