Growing soy seems like something only the big industrial farms should be growing. Small time farmers usually stay away from those big crops like rice, wheat, corn and even soy. But, these days there is a growing need for small farmers to grow soy. In fact, with the tariffs in place between the US and China right now, this is a good time for a small producer to grow soy.
Even considering that your production doesn’t have to enter the global food chain it makes sense to grow soy. Restaurants in your area would be glad to use locally grown soybeans on their menu. Selling at a farmer’s market will encourage people to eat fresh soybeans and get all of the benefits that they get out of them.
In this article, I will go over the ins and outs of growing soy when you are a small farmer.
If you want to set yourself apart as a small farmer then you have to grow things that people are not able to get at the supermarket. Your produce should be very high quality and give people a reason to seek you out.
Which means that you should be looking into varieties that allow for environmentally conscious soy production. People want to know that the beans they buy are good for their bodies and also for the local environment. The old way of producing soybeans was resource intensive and impacted the soil in the farmland.
These days there are breeds of soy that are much less impactful on the environment and should be chosen.
To make a decent profit you need to have a certain yield. You may want to pack in as much as possible in the space that you have but that would actually have the opposite effect. You should aim for 75,000 plants in an acre and no more than that. Over that amount and you risk spillage as soybean plants are rather fragile and rot is an issue when overcrowding occurs.
This will result in a good amount of yield to make a profit off of that acre.
The actual planting should be done with a hand seeder if your farm is small enough to permit it. This ensures that you have the proper density and won’t end up overcrowding.
Practice crop rotation
One of the issues that big farming conglomerates have with growing soy is that it requires a lot of fertilization to fix the soil. On a smaller scale, this may also be necessary but with the right farming practices you may not need any fertilizer at all.
This is good for the soil and also good for your budget as it will save money from not buying fertilizer. The key is proper crop rotation so the soil is always getting what they need.
For instance, if you had peas planted last season, then that is a good spot to then plant your soybeans so they get plenty of nitrogen from the soil without adding any since peas fix it themselves.