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Abstract

Since soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) is low in saturated fat and active in reducing blood cholesterol, it is gaining interest as a healthy snack food. Direct consumption of vegetable soybeans is very popular in the Orient. However, the cultivars used in Asia are not adapted to U.S. production systems. The objectives of this study were to determine the efficiency of mechanical harvest and to identify vegetable soybean cultivars adapted for a mechanical harvest system. To implement the objectives, four vegetable soybean cultivars were planted in a randomized complete block design at Randolph Research Farm, Virginia State University. The cultivars were hand harvested and mechanically harvested at the green pod stage and evaluated for green pod yield (kg ha-1), one hundred pod weight (g), plant height (cm), and pod dimensions of length (cm), width (cm), and thickness (cm). A significant difference (P < 0.01) was observed among the two methods of harvesting. The hand harvested beans yielded twice as many more pods as the mechanical harvested beans. However, the pods harvested mechanically were cleaner and required no further cleaning as compared to hand harvested pods. There was also significant cultivar x method harvest interaction. The common bean picker was effective in harvesting the vegetable soybean cultivars with plant height of 55 to 66 cm and pod size that ranged from 128 to 144 g 100-1 pods. This type of operation could be easily adapted by farmers using appropriate cultivars.

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