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Soybean plant (Glycine max): Complete Growing Guide for High Yields

The Soybean plant (Glycine max), also called any of the following; soja bean, soya bean, soyabeans, soya beans is an annual herbaceous plant in the family Fabaceae.

Its edible seeds are the most commonly consumed part of the soybean crop (soybean plant) and they are an important staple for many food production systems

Soybean is an important crop in the United States and among other nations. They are widely grown in America, Brazil, and Asia.

Soybean plant are a valuable and versatile crop, they can be grown in many types of environments and can meet a variety of end-use needs.

In 2018, 398 million tons of soybeans were produced worldwide, accounting for 61% of global oilseed production and 6% of arable land.

The United States produces eighty percent (80%) of the world’s soybeans, and countries in Brazil and Argentina produce the majority of the rest.

Soybean plant are becoming more popular worldwide due to their nutritious and affordable protein, which is used for everything from snacks to food and pharmaceuticals.

The cultivation of soybean plant is an important and highly profitable crop. Soybeans are easily grown in a variety of climates and soil conditions, and can be managed with a variety of management practices.

In 2018 alone, 398 million tons of soybeans were produced, accounting for 6.4% of world oilseed and 6% of arable land. The United States is the leading producer of soybeans, with Brazil and Argentina accounting for 15% of international production.

In addition to soybean meal, the soybean plant is also used for animal feed. Its use in the animal food industry has made it the most popular edible crop in the world.

Additionally, it is the second-most popular crop in Australia. It is a very versatile crop and is used in a variety of different cuisines, including Japanese, Chinese, and Korean food.

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Importance of Soybean Plant (Glycine max)

Soybean plant (Glycine max) is a legume of the pea family, it is an important food crop in the world.

Soybean plants are an important crop for many reasons like;

1. In addition to providing protein, the soybean also contains many other uses in agriculture.

2. Soybean seeds are found in many food products, including soya beans and corn.

3. The oil produced by soybeans is used in foods such as soya milk, vegetable soups, and meat.

4. Soybeans are also used in animal feed.

5. Soybeans are a popular culinary grain.

6. In many parts of the world, they are an essential food source for the country.

7. Soybean meal is used in many Asian dishes, including fried Asian dishes, soybean paste and soyabean oil.

In fact, they are the third most consumed food in the world.

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Soybeans (Glycine max) Complete Care Guide

Soybean plant (Glycine max): Complete Growing Guide for High Yields
soybean plant images

Caring for your soybean plants is pretty easy especially when you have the right information’s as a guide.

Below is a comprehensive guide on how to take care of your soybean plants in order to encourage maximum yield and productivity.

(1) Soybeans (Glycine max) Light Requirements

Soybean plants require warm temperatures and full sun, therefore, I recommend that you choose a good site location that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day.

Meanwhile, it is also possible for you to grow soybean plants in a partial shade, but your harvest may suffer as a result because it will result in a lower yield as its potential for optimum/maximum yield will be hindered.

Soybean seed germination requires soil temperatures of at least 65°F/18°C, and with this in mind, it is recommended that soybeans should be planted in full sun for at least 6- 8 hours per day to encourage maximum performance of the soyabean plant as well as good yield in production.

(2) Soybeans (Glycine max) Water Requirements

Depending on the planting date, maturity group, location, and weather conditions, soybeans require 15 to 25 inches of water per year.
It is critical to avoid water stress during the mid- to late-reproductive stages.

Soybean yield can be significantly reduced if it does not receive enough water to meet ET demands during this critical water use period.

a) Emergence and vegetative growth stages:

Soybean water requirements are relatively low during the seedling stage but rapidly increase during rapid vegetative growth.

Unless the soil is extremely dry, supplemental irrigation is not recommended during the germination or vegetative growth stages.

Too much water early in the season can cause the vegetative growth stage to be prolonged, resulting in delayed flowering, increased plant height, and lodging.

At this stage, limiting irrigation encourages plants to develop stronger, healthier root systems that grow deeper.

During the early stages of growth, farmers should rely on stored soil moisture and natural precipitation as much as possible.

Figure 1. Soybean seedling

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b) From the reproductive stages to maturity:

Soybeans require the most water during the reproductive stages; approximately 65 percent of water use occurs from R1 (first flower) to maturity.

Water stress affects soybeans the most during the mid- to late-reproductive stages: pod development (R3 to R4) and seed fill (R5 to R6).

Water stress during pod development and early seed fill can have the greatest impact on yield potential, resulting in fewer seeds per pod and smaller seed size.

Irrigation may be necessary during flowering if conditions are exceptionally dry or if the soil has a low water holding capacity and dries out quickly.

It is especially important to provide adequate water during seed fill when water is applied during flowering.

This is because irrigation during flowering increases the number of seeds produced, but subsequent water stress during seed fill reduces seed size, resulting in greater yield penalties than if the crop had not been watered at all during flowering.

Figure 2. Soybean flowering
Figure 2. Soybean flowering
Figure 3. Pod fill and development
Figure 3. Pod fill and development

Soybean requires a lot of water during the reproductive stages so that the seeds can grow to their full size (see Table 2 for more details).

If the soil water content is insufficient to bring the crop through physiological maturity without stressing it, stopping irrigation too soon can result in yield penalties.

Soybean plant (Glycine max): Complete Growing Guide for High Yields

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c) Create a Strategy to Avoid Water Stress

Soybean water demands frequently exceed precipitation amounts during the critical reproductive stages.

During the hot, dry summer months of July and August, peak water demand in semi-arid regions like western Nebraska can reach 0.5 inches per day.

To ensure that adequate water is available to the crop until maturity, it is critical to plan ahead of time by understanding the irrigation system’s capacity.

3) Soybeans (Glycine max) Temperature Requirements

Temperatures above 37 0C had a significant impact on pod setting, according to studies. The ideal temperature range for soybean was 25-29 0C.

The current study found that seed yield components were slightly affected at 30 0 C and significantly affected at 35 0 C, according to the findings.

In other research findings, soybeans need a soil temperature of 54 degrees Fahrenheit to grow.

However, low temperatures cause seeds to go dormant, making them more vulnerable to diseases, insects, and animal predators.

4) Soybeans (Glycine max) Fertilizer and Manure Requirements

Although soybeans do not require high fertilizer application rates, an accurate nutritional plan is required to increase yields.

With a salinity threshold of 2.0 dS/m, the crop was classified as moderately sensitive to saline. A pH of 6–6.8 is ideal for soil.

Soybeans can use atmospheric nitrogen, but it is insufficient. As a result, the crop receives approximately 10-15% of its total nitrogen requirement.

It is enough to apply 12.5 kg of nitrogen and 32 kg of phosphorus per acre. Potash is only needed if a deficiency is found.

Table 1. Estimates of the amount of six important mineral nutrients removed from the soil and located in the grain of soybean.

  Amount of nutrient in soybean grain with a yield of:
NutrientConcentration30 bushels/acre50 bushels/acre70 bushels/acre
 pounds/bushelpounds/acre
Nitrogen4.20126210294
Phosphorus0.40122028
Potassium1.25386388
Calcium0.2061014
Magnesium0.2371116
Sulfur0.2061014

Table 2. Estimates of the amount of six important mineral nutrients removed from the soil and located in the above-ground vegetative (non-seed) plant parts.

  Amount of nutrient in soybean straw with a yield of:
NutrientConcentration30 bushels/acre50 bushels/acre70 bushels/acre
 pounds/bushelpounds/acre
Nitrogen  1.30  39  65  91
Phosphorus0.13479
Potassium0.75233853
Calcium1.504575105
Magnesium0.2271115
Sulfur0.2581318

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Soybeans (Glycine max) Methods of Propagation

soybean plant images
soybean plant images (soybean plant flower, picture of soybean plant/soybean plant picture)

Below is the propagation methods of soybeans (Glycine max). In most countries, soybeans are planted in May and continue until July.

(1) Planting

Soybean plant (Glycine max): Complete Growing Guide for High Yields

A tractor and a planter can plant seed in tilled or cultivated land, depositing the soybean seed 12 inches deep in rows up to 30 inches apart. There is no rule stating that the rows must be 30 inches wide, but this is common.

Soybeans can also be “drilled” into the ground in seven-inch rows using a special “no-till” planter.

When a farmer uses the “no-till” method, the land is not cultivated, and the seeds are planted directly into the stubble left over from the previous crop, such as wheat harvested in May or June.

The “no-till” method is a significant advancement that saves time, conserves moisture, and significantly reduces the likelihood of soil erosion.

Farmers often prefer “no-till,” but tillage is sometimes required, particularly when dealing with pests such as tough weeds.

Large tractors and multi-row planters are used to plant multiple rows at once.

This reduces the number of trips across the field and allows for more work to be done in less time.

(2) Growth

A farmer must consider numerous factors to protect his crop once the soybeans sprout and small plants begin to grow (about four to seven days after planting).

The farmer has already invested in seed, planting, and weed control, and he wants the crop to succeed.

Bugs and worms prefer small, tender plants, so if a farmer notices a heavy insect infestation, he or she must evaluate the crop’s risk.

If the pest infestation is severe enough to cause crop damage, the farmer will spray a pesticide to control the pests.

There are still some products that can be sprayed if the farmer uses organic methods, but the options are much more limited, and the risk is slightly higher.

Another threat to the young crop is weeds that grow faster than soybean plants. They have the potential to crowd out the soybean plants, preventing them from receiving enough sunlight and nutrients to grow strong and healthy. Soybean yield will be reduced as a result of this.

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Furthermore, if allowed to grow, some weeds will produce seeds that will be harvested alongside the soybeans, lowering the value of the crop. When a farmer sells his soybeans, he will receive less money if there are a lot of weed seeds in them.

Soybean plant (Glycine max): Complete Growing Guide for High Yields

The plants bloom in July, August, and September. The flowers are small and range in color from white to a lovely violet or purple.

From these blossoms, the soybean plant grows small pods that contain the young seeds.

The soybean is a self-pollinating plant, which means that each flower has male and female parts.

A single plant can produce seed and essentially clone itself. Soybean plants produce far more flowers than they require, resulting in many flowers that never produce pods.

Nutrient Contents of Soybeans (Glycine max)

The soybean seeds are curved and come in different colors.

There are 139 calories per 100 grams of raw seed, and the soybean seed is a rich source of thiamine, riboflavin, and folate.

This legume has 5.7 grams of fat, 11.4 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.9 grams of fiber.

Soybeans Glycine max Farming Complete Growing Guide for High Yields

Weed Management

Depending on where they’re grown, you may need to control weeds or weed-control measures. However, these methods are effective in increasing yields and quality of crops.

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Soybeans (Glycine max) Maturity, Harvesting, and Storage

Below are the soybeans time and signs of maturity, methods of harvesting soybeans, the storage methods and the important uses of soybeans.

1. Soybeans (Glycine max) Maturity

In late September, the soybeans begin to mature. As the days get shorter and the temperatures get cooler, the leaves on soybean plants begin to turn yellow.

By mid-October and November, the leaves will turn brown and fall off, exposing the matured pods of soybeans.

The soybeans are now ready to be harvested.

2. Harvesting Soybeans (Glycine max)

Combines are large machines for harvesting soybeans and other grains including corn and wheat.

The header on the front of the combine cuts and collects the soybean plants.

The combine separates the soybeans from their pods and stems, and collects the soybeans into a holding tank in the back of the combine.

When the holding tank is full, the combine operator will empty the soybeans into a grain truck or grain wagon.

Soybeans are either transported directly to a grain dealer or transported to storage facilities and stored until the farmer decides to sell them.

Finally, the soybeans are delivered to a processing plant, where the soybean meal (the protein component of the bean) is separated from the soy oil components.

The meal is fed to livestock, and the oil is used for cooking oil, industrial purposes such as the production of ink, paint, and solvents, and the production of soy biodiesel for fuel use.

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This is where I will be wrapping up our today’s dicussion.

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