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general viewWe had more than 2.5 inches of rain since Tuesday, so our field has good surface moisture. It is recovering from last Saturday nightís hail storm.

general rowThe plants in the marked area are starting to recover from the hail damage. Iíve noticed in this row and other areas of the field that plants that werenít developed as well were damaged more by the hail than plants that had at least two trifoliolate leaves. Letís look at a couple plants in the row.

first plantOur first plant had its first trifoliolate leaf and growing point destroyed by the hail. So, there arenít going to be any new leaves above the second trifoliolate that we can see here. This plant is going to survive, but where are any new leaves going to come from? If you look in the axil of the nearest unifoliolate leaf you can see ( in the shadow) a new leaf starting to grow. Thatís where the new leaves are going to come from.
second plantOur second plant is recovering nicely. It didnít have the growing point knocked off so it will continue to develop trifoliolate leaves from the main stem. The third trifoliolate leaf has unfolded. On the right side, you can see a new leaf growing in the axil of the first trifoliolate (thereís only a bare stem or petiole remaining). That will become a branch and the plant will appear tree-like with different branches or forks. Youíll see what I mean later.
third plantI donít know if this is the same plant we looked at earlier in the week, but it is a good example of how a hail-damaged soybean plant recovers. Leaves are starting to grow in the unifoliolate leavesí axils. This plant is going to make it, but it will develop slower.
roots nodulesLetís look at some soybean roots. This is a good root system. These roots are well-branched and growing downward. Thereís no evidence of soil compaction, which would restrict the downward growth of the roots. There are some round structures attached to the roots. Do you see them? These are called nodules and they contain bacteria. Donít worry these are good bacteria! They are beneficial to the plant because they utilize atmospheric nitrogen and convert the nitrogen to a form that the plant can use. The soybean plant provides nutrients to the bacteria.
second image of roots nodulesLetís look closer at these nodules. The nodule on the left has been sliced open and you can see a pinkish color. This is an indication that this nodule is actively "fixing" nitrogen for the plant. If you think about this arrangement between the plant and bacteria, itís a good deal for both. In simplified terms, the bacteria have free "room and board" and the plant gets free nitrogen. This saves on fertilizer costs for farmers as well. Soybean is not the only legume crop that has this interesting relationship with bacteria. Other legume crops, such as alfalfa, red clover, and peanuts also benefit.

Soybean Scene

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