Submitted to: Hoard's Dairyman
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2001
Publication Date: January 20, 2002
Citation: ROTZ, C.A., ROTH, G.W., SODER, K.J. How Soybeans fit on dairy farms?. HOARD'S DAIRYMAN. 2002. Technical Abstract: Dairy farmers have dramatically increased their use of soybeans as a cash crop and as a feed crop in the past ten years. Benefits of soybean use include relatively low input costs, crop rotation benefits, and the ability to replace some purchased off-farm protein supplements with homegrown feedstuffs. Farmers must consider how the addition of a crop such as soybeans affects the whole farm as a system. A comprehensive analysis was done to assess all aspects of the farm as influenced by the production and feeding of a soybean crop. Six cropping and feeding scenarios were compared with and without soybeans grown on the farm and with and with out efficient feeding of supplemental protein feeds. The results show that when cropland is limited, first priority must be given to producing forage for the dairy herd. When ample cropland is available, agronomic benefits of growing soybeans can provide a small increase in farm profit. Feeding the soybeans produced in either a raw or roasted form though, may reduce farm profit compared to feeding an appropriate blend of purchased protein feeds that efficiently meet the protein needs of the herd. Long-term environmental benefits for growing and feeding soybeans are also small.