Robert is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Soybean Cultivation Farming
Soybean is cultivated in different countries and is one of the most profitable crops in the world. It is commonly known due to its multiple uses which includes; source of livestock and aquaculture feed, protein and oil for the human diet and biofuel. Soybean is able to provide about 64 percent of the world’s oilseed meal supply and is the major source of oil. Soybean meal is considered the primary product and oil is considered the secondary. For the farmer to be successful in Soybean farming, it starts with proper understanding the needs of the soybean and the environmental conditions required for optimal growth. This is not all as you need to understand and adopt the best agronomic practices for optimal yield. This agribusiness article will take you in detail in Soybean farming and management. Make sure you understand the production requirements, starting from seed selection to soil preparation, to planting and weed and pest control among others.
Soils and climatic requirement for soybean production
Make sure you plant Soybean on the well drained and fertile loam soils with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. The Soybean does not give good results on weak sand soils. Make sure you grow soybean in soils which is not soil acidic as it is very sensitive to soil acidity. You can rotate the Soybean with Maize or any other non leguminous plant. Soybean is relatively resistant to low and very high temperatures, but growth rates decrease above 35°C and below 18°C. In some varieties, flowering may be delayed at temperatures below 24°C hence keep on observing the temperature changes. The optimal temperature for Soybean range from 26 to 30°C for most of the varieties.
Soybeans are able to be grown throughout the year in the tropics and subtropics regions, but make sure enough water is available. Soybean requires 400 to 500 mm of water in a season for a good crop and for it to perform better. During germination make sure the soil has enough required soil moisture and this has to be observed during the flowering stage as well as ponding stage for best results. Less rainfall or insufficient soil moistures result in crop failures. Crop failure would be expected if the average annual rainfall is less than 180mm.
Each Soybean Variety has minimum day length light requirements which must be achieved. Take note that Soybean is a short day plant and, therefore, flowers in response to shortening days and this means the Soybean productivity depends on day lengths. It needs a range of 100 to 130 days or more to be ready for harvest.
For best results, make sure you observe the following row spacing of 0.4 to 0.6 m with 30 to 40 seeds per meter of row.
Soybean is sensitive to soil acidity, so for the good results, make sure you check the soil pH in areas where you want to grow Soybean and keep on observing pH changes. You can apply a pre- plant fertilizer of a range of 200 to 300 kg per ha of either a basal fertilizer, Gypsum or Single Super Phosphate before planting, particularly where the soil fertility is low. Applying manure result in best yield since Soyabean responds well to manure application. Soybean is leguminous plant and do not need much nitrogen fertilizer be applied. It is recommended to apply Rhizobium inoculant to the seed during planting period.
Planting and crop management
The seed rate for Soybean is about 90-100 kg per hectare and this will result in a desirable plant population of 350,000 plants per hectare. Make sure you observe the row spacing of a range of 25 to 90 cm. Closer row spacing has a potential for higher yield.
Mid-season crop management
Soyabean are very prone to drought conditions during the flowering and pod-filling stage. Therefore, make sure you are able to supply additional water through irrigation in case of less moisture content during the pod filling stage, which occurs in the last third of the crop's life and any growth stage as well.
Make sure you keep the farm which you have grown your Soybean clean from weeds as Soybean is sensitive to weed competition during the first six weeks. Make sure you control the weeds adequately during this period.
Make sure you harvest your Soybean as soon as the plants have dried. Any harvest delay after the pod has dried results in losses since the pods may shatter with a consequential loss of yield. You may use hand to pick the dried Soybean. Soybean can also be harvested mechanically.
Things to take note before starting soybean farming
- Make sure you select best varieties which are free from pests and diseases.
- Make sure you conduct a soil test to know soil nutritional content.
- Avoid growing Soybean on acidic soils.
- Look for best technologies which can lower the cost of production.
- Make sure you follow all the agronomic practices.