How Adaptive Technology Results in Soybean Production, Versatility, and Improvement?

Soybean Production

Soybean (Glycine max) is one of the most beneficial legumes due to its high economic value, adaptability, and nutritional significance. It can be cultivated in many different environments, with many different care methods, and for many different uses.

In 2018, soybeans accounted for 61% of total oilseed output and 6% of global arable land use, yielding an estimated 398 million metric tons. Nearly 81% of global soybean production came from the United States, Brazil, and Argentina. These three countries accounted for 34%, 32%, and 15%, respectively. 

The composition of soybean seeds and the demand for their primary byproducts, meal, and oil, have driven a nearly 350% increase in crop production since 1987. Both as human food and a significant source of livestock feed, soybean meal plays a pivotal role in the food chain. 

Soy oil’s wide range of applications includes numerous food and drink categories, wax, building, cosmetics, polymers, and even fuel.

As a result of their high economic value as a seed crop, it has attracted and undergone a lot of research and development. 

This article highlights significant pre- and post-planting agronomic procedures in soybean production alongside the adaptive technology in soybean pest management measures. 

Adaptive Technology in the Activities Before Planting

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As one of the most adaptable crops, soybeans grow in a wide variety of climates and environments and have various applications. As a result, various agronomic procedures should be considered before planting soybeans.

While most farmers engage in some form of tillage and fertilization, the specifics of these methods can vary widely based on factors including personal taste, local climate, and financial constraints. Tillage, both mechanical and manual, was historically seen as a crucial technique for increasing crop output and profitability. Recent studies have confirmed the risks of over-tilling and the possible advantages of soil conservation and no-till operations, notwithstanding tillage’s continued utility. 

Soybean no-till and conservation tillage approaches are common in places with highly erodible soil, and some studies have indicated that yields hold steady or even increase with reduced tillage. Other studies, however, have demonstrated that rotational tillage strategies will produce higher soy foods value than no-till approaches, particularly due to herbicide expenditures and equipment needs. 

Conservation tillage (30% crop residue left on the soil surface) is a common compromise due to the necessity of good soil maintenance, especially in herbicide-tolerant soybean production. Studies have found that conservation tillage and no-till methods improve soil health by increasing the number of beneficial rhizobia and nematodes.

The Control of Pests

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Soybean pests can include aphids and stink bugs to loopers and beetles. The damage of pests to soybeans varies according to year and the affected region. Damage caused by insects is difficult to quantify. However, yield losses of up to 80% have been documented. 

Adaptive technology has developed ways to manage the following soybean pests; Soybean aphids (Aphis glycines), Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica Newman) and Mexican bean beetles (Epilachna varivestis Mulsant), two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), brown marmorated and red banded stinkbugs (Halyomorpha halys and Piezodorous guildinii), bean leaf beetles (Megacopta cribraria Fabricius).

Insecticides are widely employed in insect management and are often the first line of defense against pest insects. Farmers are increasingly adopting IPM strategies like integrated pest management (IPM) because of its many benefits, including less pesticide use, fewer byproducts, safer working conditions, and less possibility of insecticide resistance.

Efforts of Genetic Engineering

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Genetic engineering refers to the practice of transforming an organism by manipulating its DNA in a laboratory. Agrobacterium, electroporation of plant protoplasts, and microparticle bombardment are some techniques used to modify plant genetics. Gene editing, which uses the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system, is a relatively young subfield of genetic engineering. 

To accomplish the desired result in genetic engineering, either a gene from one organism is transferred to another organism so that it can express the corresponding gene product, or a gene is knocked out in the target organism through the introduction of frameshifts or deletions. 

The potential of CRISPR/Cas9 to rapidly and reliably enhance agronomic features in crops has attracted a great deal of interest. In the 1990s, the initial attempts at genetic engineering in soybean proved successful. 

Approximately 90.7 million hectares of genetically modified/GM soybean were planted in 2014. This indicates a widespread adoption of genetic engineering in soybean since this period. The main goal of this genetic engineering project has been to develop glyphosate-resistant soybean or Roundup Ready soybean.

Final Thought

Because of its many users, soybeans are a vital commodity that is cultivated around the world. Tillage, pre-plant fertilizer, and monitoring soil pH are pre-growing techniques to prepare the field for the growing season. 

Many agronomic factors, such as crop rotations, double cropping, cover crops, irrigation, row spacing, plant density, and post-emergence fertilization, must be considered during the growing season to ensure successful soybean growth. Soybean pests are plentiful, so it’s vital to employ insecticides, resistant soybean cultivars, and cultural methods for IPM. 

Despite soybean’s widespread application as livestock feed due to its high protein content, issues remain with supplementing methionine and eliminating antinutritional elements. Human consumption, biofuels, and various industrial applications all attest to soybeans’ adaptability.

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