Soybean field

A soybean field with variations in plant color along Missouri Road near Marshall.

Q: Why do soybean plants have such different colors even when they are planted so close together?

A: When driving through the country, you can see the crops changing colors, but even though the plants sit right next to each other, that doesn’t mean they face the same conditions, UW Extension soybean specialist Shawn Conley said.

“The differences in maturity are due to crop health variation across the field,” according to Conley. “The plants that are no longer green are likely stressed by lack of rainfall or disease.”

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Since fields aren’t uniformly flat, the lower ground may have absorbed more rainfall while the tops of hills may have had that rainfall flow down.

Some of the diseases that can affect soybeans include white mold, frogeye leaf spot, and stem canker, all of which can affect harvest yields.

—Shelley K. Mesch

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