It’s in your margarine, bread, crayons and building materials, but you probably don’t realize it. Soybeans are everywhere.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service predicts that farmers will plant a record amount of soybean in 2014. However, a Kansas State University crop production specialist says the numbers may be deceiving.
Ignacio Ciampitti, assistant professor of crop production and cropping systems, says there is a small increase in the amount of soybeans being planted this year, which may be because corn prices are so low. Ciampitti says the large number of expected soybean acres is most likely because farmers are now alternating the crops they plant in order to produce more at a lower cost.
“In the second year and third years of continuous soybean planting, we are starting to see that the production is going down,” Ciampitti said. “One of the sustainable approaches is to use crop rotation.”
By planting corn one year and soybeans the next, this helps reduce the risk of plant diseases, minimize the cost spent on herbicide and weed control, and provides nutrient cycle. These factors lead to a higher yield.
Ciampitti says 2014 is most likely a year when many farmers are planting their soybean crop instead of their corn crop. The National Agricultural Statistics Service report estimates that 81.5 million acres of soybean will be planted in 2014.