Over recent years, Soybean has traversed continents and is grown on a large scale in the U.S. and Latin America. The extensive growth has been influenced by increased demand for soy and products that fits well in most nutritional programs, especially for vegans and vegetarians. Therefore, it is important to understand their process of growth and development.
Generally, soybean is relatively easy to grow. It thrives well with the right amount of sunlight, warmth, and moisture. All this notwithstanding, soybean is somewhat vulnerable to pests and diseases, waterlogging, and frost in their early stages. Public and private research institutions collaborate with farmers to develop new technologies and best practices. Timely planting, careful crop monitoring, and timely harvesting can make a huge difference.
Let us dive deep into everything you need to know about Soybean growth and development.
Necessary Conditions For Soybean Growth
There are specific environmental conditions that favor the growth of soybeans. It is essential to look out for them and expose your soybeans to the optimal conditions that enhance their growth and yield. Among the U.S. soybean farmers and producers, continuous research and development efforts are underway to enhance soybean varieties, improve crop management practices, and address challenges such as pests, diseases, and climate change.
Considering climatic conditions, soybeans do exceptionally well in tropical and sub-tropical areas like Indonesia and cold-temperate areas like Canada and the Americas. Soybeans can be grown anywhere with optimum water (510 and 660 mm per soybean growing season), warmth (22 and 35°C), and moisture.
Regarding soil and nutrients, soy can be grown in most soil profiles. However, to grow high-yielding soybeans, you will need well-drained and rich in organic matter, loamy soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Extremely acidic soils (with a pH of less than 4.5) could lead to aluminum and manganese toxicity, thus unsuitable for legumes. On the other hand, a pH higher than 8 often lack vital micronutrients such as zinc and iron required for growing soybeans.
Steps Involved in Soybean Planting
Planting soybeans involves a few easy-to-follow steps.
The first thing is to carry out pre-planting operations. Under this, tillage is the most important process. It helps you prepare the ground for planting and easy germination of the delicate young plants. After tillage, the seeds need to be treated with pesticides and fungicides. However, you must ensure the seeds do not contain these chemicals while planting them.
After pre-planting operations, you must watch out for the most appropriate time to plant the seed, usually late winter or early spring. Timely planting will ensure you expose the bean to an adequate water supply and avoid unfavorable climatic conditions that can greatly reduce yield and maturity.
After getting the seeds ready and clicking the best time to plant the seed, you should begin planting. While sowing soybean broadcast has worked in the past, a more organized seeding into the soil is most appropriate for a high yield. Good spacing enhances yield and enables the crop to form canopies which helps control pests.
The Growth Time & Harvesting
After 100 days, most soybeans are in the final growth cycle and maturity stage. The time can differ depending on the season and the length of daytime and nighttime. Generally, longer day hours can drag flowering in short-day types and cause them to grow in height and node number. On the other hand, shorter day hours accelerate flowering. This accounts for the difference in maturity timing.
Harvesting should be done just at the right time. Harvesting too soon results in harvesting immature beans, whereas too late may result in great losses. You should consider crop maturity and moisture levels in soybean seeds before you harvest them.
Handling Pests and Diseases
While soybeans are more resistant than other legumes, pests and diseases remain a considerable threat to their yields. Myriad factors, including climate, agricultural techniques, crop rotation, and past disease incidence, could influence the chances of pest and disease infestation.
Typical soybean pests include grasshoppers, stink bugs, and bean-leaf beetles (BLBs). BLBs are the most notorious soybean pests; they consistently threaten growing soybeans from planting to harvesting. Grasshoppers and stink bugs come later in the life of soybean with their destructive impacts directed toward leaves and pods, respectively. Employing integrated pest management strategies can help control these pests and enhance your crop yields.
Besides destructive insects, soybean is exposed to hundreds of pathogens, of which a few can significantly affect yields. Some of the common soybean diseases include Downy mildew, Bacterial blight, White mold, Stem canker, and Charcoal rot. Most of these diseases can be controlled through non-host crop rotation, growing resistant cultivars, seed treatment, deep tillage, and fungicides.
Soybean and Biotechnology
There has been a lot of research and attempts to apply ultramodernist techniques to enhance the yield of soybeans and meet the growing global demand. One of these areas is bioengineering, which has led to GMO soybeans. Most soybean grown in the U.S. is GMO and mostly used in animal feeds and soybean oil production. GMO beans also have enhanced capacities to withstand pests and diseases, yielding more. Biotechnology is soybean growth, and production is intended to enhance yields per hectare and help deal with pests and pathogens.
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Soybean is one of the legumes that remain exceptionally easy to grow. Following all the procedures makes a huge difference, with careful tillage of choice soil with optimum nutrient content being key. Pre-planting seed treatment will help deal with pests and diseases and enhance sprouting and growth. Carefully tending the crop till maturity and harvesting them on time makes a huge difference. You should also be aware of modern technology that helps deal with disease and enhance crop yields.