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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Economic and Environmental Impacts of Giant Soybeans

Authors
item Wu, Shunxiang - USDA-RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
item Lu, Yao
item McMurtrey Iii, James
item Devine, Thomas

Submitted to: BARC Poster Day
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 6, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Soybeans are an important crop for U. S. farmers and have long been known for their agronomical and economic values. More recently, there is growing interest in soil conservation benefit from giant soybeans. Approximately 8 million ha of soybeans are planted on highly erodible land in soybean producing regions in the United States and higher amount of residues are required on these lands after harvest to reduce soil erosion. Some giant soybeans can grow as high as six feet or more and can provide a large amount of residues needed for soil conservation. Before giant soybeans can become a major source of residues for soil conservation on the large scale, they must prove to be economically profitable and environmentally beneficial. The objective of this study is to compare the economic and environmental impact of giant versus conventional soybeans. Economic benefit is measured by gross returns from soybean production. Environmental impact is evaluated by the rate of soil erosion as simulated by RUSLE. A decline in soil loss reduces not only onsite productivity damage but also offsite sediment damage. For conventional tillage and continuous soybeans, gross revenues from giant soybeans were about 2% lower in 1994 and 10% lower in 1995 than conventional soybeans, because of low yield for giant soybeans. Relative to conventional variety, giant soybeans produced more crop residues, an increase of 48% in 1998 before double disking and 133% in 1995 after double disking. Apparently, conservation benefit from giant soybeans can be realized only if giant soybeans' yield can be improved to the level of conventional variety.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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