In this article we are going to address some very fundamental thigs to take into account when selecting and growing soybeans. We are going to strip back from all the jargon and the marketing and look at the 4 crucial things to consider about soybeans and how to get the very best yield possible come next harvest time.
1) Weather can be your best friend or your biggest foe. Ultimately the weather itself is out of your control but there are plenty of things you can do to help counter any bad weather. Firstly, it is important to remember that soybeans are fragile crops, they like to grow in a harmonious environment and adverse weather conditions can easily disrupt this.
– Shelter your fields from surface winds to prevent crop damage, high hedging or stone walls are ideal windbreakers.
– Look at the location of your fields in respect to run off areas, perhaps a field is more suitable for soybeans than another so plant there.
– Look at historical weather patterns, it is not fool-proof but it should give you a little indication of what to expect during your growing months.
2) Sunlight. Yep, we really are going back to basics. But it is so often overlooked, and we see soybean fields aplenty that are crammed full with plants. More plants does not equate to higher yields. In fact, with plants competing for sunlight you will find subpar growth as well as poorer quality produce. It is vital that your soybean plants are spaced well and have good access to sunlight. Using variable rate seeding equipment is a brilliant smart tech way of controlling exactly how many plants are in a given area.
3) Irrigation. Another no brainer? Well as with sunlight you would be surprised how many farmers simply are not irrigating their fields correctly. Soybeans are thirsty crops that require good access to water. They don’t like growing in boggy or poorly irrigated fields however. It is so important to make sure your fields are supplying your soybean plants exactly the right amount of water; consistently. Variable irrigation systems or variable rate fertigation systems work fantastically with soybean crops as they can be adjusted in real time to continuously provide the soybeans the optimum growing environment.
4) Weed and pest control. Weeds drain soybeans of their valuable water and sunlight access. They easily crowd out soybean crops and can ruin a harvest very quickly if not caught early on. If you have expanses of fields all planted with soybeans it can often be tricky to spot problem areas as they evolve, and we strongly recommend farmers look at purchasing a drone. With drones you can easily and quickly identify those problem weed areas as well as target them if need be with aerial spraying devices. The precision nature of drones means that you are able to locate individual weeds and then kill them without worrying about damaging the precious soybean plant.
So there you have it, a very basic step by step guide to make sure that your soybean harvest is the best possible this coming harvest. Don’t forget that soybean crops in general are not very robust, so it does lead us on to a bonus point to take into account.
5) Pick your variety carefully. Make sure that the variety you pick matches the conditions you are able to manufacture in your fields. If a particular variety is not very hardwearing against sweeping winds and your fields are not designed to combat that then pick another variety. The same goes for sunlight and water requirements. If your fields are drier than the average field it is best to avoid thirsty soybean varieties. In the case of a field being too poorly irrigated it might be best to plant a different crop and then invest on irrigation for the next growing season.
Soybeans can be extremely lucrative and rewarding to grow, they can also be a farmer’s worst nightmare so make sure you are careful and making use of smart agriculture technology and precision farming practices. We have seen some farmers having truly amazing successes with soybeans when they have been smart about how they are grown. It is also important to ensure you have the correct storage in place for harvest time as soybean crops will perish if not stored correctly. Have a look at our blog article on grain storage to get an idea of how important storage is to a smart managed farm.
Hopefully you found this article helpful, we aimed to make it a solid reminder that you can have all the plants, tech and plans in the world, but without getting back to the grass roots of farming some crops are so easy to get drastically wrong. Let us know your thoughts on soybeans? Is there another crop you want us to look at for you? Perhaps you want a more in-depth article on soybean varieties? Let us know in the comments below.