Blog entry by Nicoleta Capatana
Why soybean is such an important crop? The answer is simple, soybean known as Glycine max (L.) Merril is a valuable source of proteins and oils and has a unique influence on the nitrogen cycle in natural ecosystems. The demand for soybean is increasing and in order to meet this demand the soybean yield must be improved (Ainsworth EA 2012, Kawasaki Y 2016).
Soybean is also an important food crop and in a world with an increasing population the biggest challenge in future will be to comply with the demand for food. Another challenge is driven by the fact that in the future it is mandatory to find new sustainable land management strategies for increasing the grain yield per unit.
USA is the largest producer of soybean, followed by Brazil, Argentina, China and India. The USA, Brazil and Argentina are the major exporters of soybeans, and Japan, China and the European Union are the major importers. In the USA, the soybean production has increased over the last 50 years. This stands in contrast with the soybean production in the European Union that is steadily decreasing. The European Union is facing a major deficit of proteins, and the demand for soybean products is increasing. To comply with this demand the EU is forced to import soybeans from other countries.
In Romania areas cultivated with soybean decreased significantly between 2008 and 2010, in average the total area was 50.000 ha. Starting with 2011 areas cultivated with soybean had increased at 71.861 ha. In 2013 the area cultivated with soybean was 67.409 ha, and 2014 was 79.275 ha, harvested area growing with 17.60 %.
According to FAO if we analyze the dynamics of the soybean crop grain yields in 2014 comparing with 2013 we will see that soybean grain yield was growing with 15.06 %.
The area under cultivation and the grain yield increased significantly for soybean crop between 2013 and 2014. This was mainly due to the agricultural policies of the European Union which are aimed to increase the domestic production of vegetable protein to meet the increasing demand for soybean products.
Conservation Agriculture (CA) is one of the key factors in achieving increased grain yields with a minimum impact damage for the environment. Principles and general practices of CA are based on concepts of minimal soil disturbance (NT, MT), permanent organic soil cover, and crop rotation.
There are farmers who clearly see the value of sustainable agriculture. They understand very well that they need to certify their best management practices to satisfy the consumer demand.
ReferencesAinsworth EA, Yendrek CR, Skoneczka JA, Long SP. 2012. "Accelerating yield potential in soybean: potential targets for biotechnological improvement." Plant, cell & environment. 1;35(1) 38-52.
Busari M.A., Kukal S.S, Kaur A., Bhatt R., Dulazi A.A. 2015. "Conservation tillage impacts on soil crop and the environment." International soil and water conservation research 3(2015) 119-129.
Kassam A, Friedrich T. 2011. "Conservation agriculture: principles, sustainable land management and ecosystem services. ." Proceedings of the 40th National Convention of the Italian Agronomy Society 7-9.
Kawasaki Y, Tanaka Y, Katsura K, Purcell LC, Shiraiwa T. 2016. "Yield and dry matter productivity of Japanese and US soybean cultivars." Plant Production Science 2;19(2) 257-66.
Specht J.E, Hume D.J, Kumudini S.V. 1999. "Soybean yield potential—a genetic and physiological perspective." Crop Science.1;39(6) 1560-70.