• Consider installing vine lifters on the cutter bar if plants are severely lodged.

• Operate the combine in the opposite direction if the plants are badly lodged in one direction

• Try increasing the reel speed in relation to the ground speed. This sounds easy, but it can be challenging to find the correct groundspeed and reel speed combination in lodged beans having brittle pods.

If the ground speed is too fast in relation to the speed of the reel, the cutter bar will ride over some of the plants. If the reel speed is set too fast in relation to the ground speed, the reel can beat the beans out of the pods. The reel should run 25 percent faster than the ground speed under ideal conditions.

For a reel with a diameter of 42 inches, this is 10 rpm/mph. However, if the beans are lodged, increase the reel speed incrementally up to a maximum of 50 percent faster than the ground speed if necessary.

In lodged conditions, try running the reel at 11 rpm/mph. If the cutter bar is still riding over plants and the reel is not beating the beans out of the pods, consider increasing the speed of the reel to 12 rpm/mph.

If the reel is causing shattering, decrease the speed of the reel just to the point that the shattering stops. If the cutter bar begins riding over lodged plants, you will need to decrease your ground speed.

• Make one adjustment at a time and stop frequently to evaluate how you are doing.

Finally, producers who had significant lodging this fall should try to identify the cause or causes of the lodging. The most likely causes are high populations, low potassium soil test levels and variety selection. Soybean varieties differ in their susceptibility to lodging and producers should consider this characteristic when selecting varieties.

This article was produced by the SMaRT project (Soybean Management and Research Technology). The SMaRT project was developed to help Michigan producers increase soybean yields and farm profitability. Funding for the SMaRT project is provided by MSUExtension and the Michigan Soybean Checkoff program.