Producers will need to decide if rolling the field is necessary based on rock pressure, corn root balls and improved field harvestability. Is the risk worth the benefits of this optional operation? Rolling pre-emergence, but post-germination/sprouting, has the risk to seriously impact stand establishment; post emergence rolling has a chance of damaging plants.

Rolling after the seed has been in the ground for more than a few days appears dangerous. The germination process will be quick with warm soils and adequate moisture. A germinated seed with pre-emergent growth could be subjected to the following problems due to ground rolling: increasing seeding depth due to soil leveling, breaking of the hypocotyl growth below ground, increasing compaction of the planting layer and soil crusting. Rolling after seedling emergence was demonstrated to be a viable option and still accomplished targeted goals.

There are a couple of considerations when rolling emerged soybeans. The most important factor is to avoid rolling in cool or cold conditions common to morning and evening. Plants are more rigid and brittle at those times and rolling can snap stems instead of bending them. It has also been observed that tractor tracks cause more significant damage than the roller, emphasizing the importance of matching the tractor to the roller width. Ground speed should not make a difference, provided the roller is not "rock hopping" and the driver is paying close attention when turning to avoid pushing up soil berms.

Again, it is important to weigh risks with benefits before proceeding. If a decision to roll a soybean field is made, take the time to evaluate the operation's initial results quickly in the field. If the damage appears to be too excessive, rethink your decision to avoid making the 60-acre mistake and allow for peaceful sleeping that night.