DOI: 10.12924/of2019.05010003 |Publication Date: 10 April 2019

Comparative Harvest Efficiency of Soybeans between Cropping Systems Affected by First Pod Height and Plant Length

Mareike Beiküfner 1, * , Bianka Hüsing 1 , Dieter Trautz 1 and Insa Kühling 1, 2
1 Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrück, Germany
2 Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany
* Corresponding author

Today, the demand for soybean for feed industry and food production in Germany is met by imports from South and North America. Soybean cultivation in Germany, although challenging, will be of interest in the future due to an increasing demand for non-genetically modified (NGM) soybeans. To meet this rising demand for NGM soybeans and to increase resource use efficiency there is a need to reduce soybean harvest losses arising from harvesting with combine harvester. The height of the first pod can be a major factor affecting harvest losses, especially when it is not possible to maintain a sufficiently low cutting height. From 2011 to 2013, six soybean varieties were cultivated using two cropping systems (conventional ‘CON’ and organic ‘ORG’) at the Osnabru ̈ck University of Applied Sciences in a randomized block design with four replications to investigate the effect of first pod height and plant length on harvest losses and the effect of the cropping system on these parameters. Before harvesting with an experimental harvester, 1.5 m2 per plot were harvested manually as a reference. First pod height, number of pods per plant and plant length were determined on 10 plants per plot. Over the three years of the study, the first pod height (10.4 cm) and plant length (81.4 cm) were on average higher under conventional conditions compared to organic cultivation (7.3 cm; 60.9 cm). On average, lower harvest losses (25.6% vs. 39.2%) and higher grain yields (20.8 dt ha−1 vs. 16.9 dt ha−1) were also observed under conventional cultivation. Varieties differed significantly in grain yield, first pod height and plant length. A high first pod height was related to a longer plant length and lower harvest losses at both sites. However, a high first pod height and a high plant length did not lead to higher grain yields on any of the plots. These results indicate that harvest efficiency can be improved by choosing varieties with long plant lengths if it is not possible to maintain a low cutting height when harvesting with a combine harvester.

Keywords: conventional agriculture; early maturity varieties; Glycine max (L.) Merr.; organic agriculture; pulses


2012 - 2019 by the authors; licensee Librello, Switzerland. This open access article was published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (