Soybean production constraints & possible solutions

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FOOD SECURITY is a global issue these days and has led the scientists to ensure high yields of all crops. Soybean is an important oil seed crop worldwide. It serves both for oil source for human consumption and is used for animal feed production.


The vulnerable climate is posing threats to the crops. In this every increasing population, we may face shortages of foods in some areas of the world. We dont want to suffer food shortages worldwide. Natural disasters and pests are the major problems in food production systems worldwide. When we talk about food and crop improvement then it means we are discussing to reduce diseases pressure, weeds flora and attacks of pests on crops. Soybean particularly is a leguminous crop containing 18 per cent oil and 38 per cent protein in its seeds serves as a rich source of protein and it is used as ingredient in livestock feed as well as human consumption of oil is enriched by Soybean oil. Some important and useful aspects of soybean are:


Soybean increases soil fertility (soil nitrogen) through biological nitrogen fixation of atmospheric inorganic nitrogen into plant available form.


Roasted soybeans (ingredients in traditional confectionery products and snacks)


Immature whole green soybeans (as vegetable)


Germinated soybean and soybean sprouts (as vegetable)


Dehulled whole beans full fat flour (bakery and dietetic food)


Very finely ground full fat flour (as spray-dried milk alternative)


Oil source (shortening, margarine, cooking oil and salad dressing, paint, varnishes, printing inks, lecithin)


The current area under our country is not impressive. The current status of soybean production, processing and utilization in the country can be improved easily by alleviating problems of farmers who grow soybean. The experiments conducted to find out solutions for the decrease in production of soybean yield are proving helpful and will be adding more production of oil seed crops in Pakistan. Some constraints in Soybean production are:


Soil health issues


Agronomic constraints


Biotic constraints


A-biotic stresses


Drought


Non-availability of the quality seeds


Low consumer preference


Diseases, insects, weeds


High temperature


Value addition of soybean


Lack of high yielding varieties


Social constraints


In soil constraints, health of soil in terms of fertility and soil erosion limits soybean yield. While in agronomic constraints improper planting time, planting depth, irrigation, fertilization, diseases, insects, and pests are included. Soybean doesnt require too much irrigation for whole growing period. Heavy rains effect germination of soybean much.


Researchers have found that insects, diseases and pests community increase day by day and lead to overall reduction in yield by destroying the photosynthetic machinery of crop. In rainy season, diseases spread at much faster rate.


The major problems for soybean crop include seed borne disease (purple seed stain) is the most important seed disease that leads towards complete crop failure especially under rainy weather. Parasitic microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, oomycetes and viruses contribute to loss in economic yield. A similar trend occurs for pests; such as aphids, beetles, mites, and stinkbugs, cause considerable economic damage to the soybean crop. Aphids, rusts and nematodes also reduce soybean yield.


Another constraint is the non-availability of good seed in the market. Farmers also prefer cheap seed which is non-uniform and is genetically unable to perform well in field conditions. Annual temperature is increasing due to worldwide climatic changes and insect pest population paradigm may change. This dynamic may be resulting in sudden pest outbreaks such as pod sucking bugs population jumps suddenly when there is favorable climate.


Some farmers dont know where to sell soybean grains. Some growers dont know the process of soybean for domestic purpose. This is the need of the hour to establish markets for soybean crop especially in KPK where there is huge potential for this crop.


The potential of soybean can be exploited in improving health and nutritional requirements of babies as well as for females facing micro-nutrient deficiencies. Soybean can also be used to increase the immunity of persons.


Some possible solutions for soybean production constraints are;


Loose well-drained soil is ideal for optimum soybean growth.


The best phenotype is tall and bushy, quick growth, drought tolerant/


Seed treatments arent valued, but are as important for double crop as full season


Availably of proper certified seeds / varieties


Optimum seed rate and fertilization/ mulches should be preferred.


Proper planting time and method leading to high yield in soybean.


The best row spacing is 15″ planted or 7.5″ drilled


Great attention against weeds, diseases and pests.


Poor residue management and soil condition lead to poor seed-to-soil contact


Producing double seed soybean crop


Growers do not fertilize and let the beans scavenge after wheat (Zero tillage)


Encourage Research and development


Encourage the extension services for soybean production technology


Harvesting at proper time (at full maturity)


Strengthen the marketing system


In shorts, provision of high quality soybean seeds is the responsibility of government seed production farms and private seed marketing companies. Researchers should also exploit the genetic potential and should work for the development of varieties resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses.


The author is M.Sc. (Hons.) Agronomy, Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.


He can be reached at <abi2840@gmail.com>


By Abrar Ahmad, Muhammad Ashfaq Wahid, M. A. M. Chaudhary


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